(844) 815-9632

damages

When Can You Sue for PTSD for Auto Accident Injuries?

When a person is injured in an auto accident, they may be entitled to recover monetary damages for their injuries. In some circumstances, an injury victim can be entitled to recover after suffering an emotional, or mental health, injury, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as a result of a car accident. Unless the mental health injury rendered a person incapacitated, they will need to file a lawsuit within the normal time period allowed by their state to file. While uncommon, in severe auto accidents, particularly when there is a loss of life, severe injuries, or maybe just a whole lot of property damage, it is easily foreseeable that an individual could suffer from PTSD. However, to establish a personal injury case based upon a PTSD diagnosis can be rather challenging. Unlike broken bones, cuts, bumps, and bruises, a mental health injury may not visible on the surface. Problems of Proof When suing for a PTSD injury related to a car accident, a plaintiff will need to prove that a qualified doctor made an accurate PTSD diagnosis and that the diagnosis is attributable, at least in part, to the accident. To accomplish this, it is highly likely that expert medical witness testimony will be required. However, despite what a medical expert states, other problems could arise if the accident was only a minor accident, or there are other tragic incidents, particularly recently, in the plaintiff’s past, or a prior diagnosis for PTSD. However, even if a diagnosis may not be attributable to an accident, a flare up of PTSD symptoms may still be relevant. In other words, it can be claimed that a car accident made an individual’s PTSD worse. One Bite of the Settlement Apple A significant problem with PTSD auto accident claims is the timing of a settlement. Frequently, injury victims will settle their cases within 6 month or a year after their injury without ever filing a lawsuit. Just as frequently, PTSD can go undiagnosed for months, or longer if a victim does not have a solid support network. Unfortunately, in nearly every state, once a person settles a personal injury claim, they cannot reopen the case unless there are extraordinary circumstances, such as a fraud in the inducement to sign. Typically, an undiscovered injury will not qualify to reopen a settled case. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) Can You Sue Over Mental Stress, Trauma? (FindLaw’s Injured) Can You Get Workers’ Comp for PTSD? (FindLaw’s Injured) 5 Ways to Prove Emotional Distress (FindLaw’s Injured)
continue reading

Study: Payouts Are up in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Insurance companies might be seeing fewer medical malpractice claims, but they seem to be awarding more money to the injured patients that do make them. A new study found that paid medical malpractice claims declined almost 56 percent between 1992 and 2014, but the average payout for a successful malpractice claim jumped over 23 percent, reaching $353,000 for the 2009-2014 time period. So what accounts for the decline in claims and rise in payouts? And what does it mean for future medical malpractice plaintiffs? Fewer Claims = More Money The research comes from physicians at Brigham and Women's Hospital, who analyzed numbers from a centralized database of paid malpractice claims: Researchers report that the overall rate of claims paid on behalf of all physicians dropped by 55.7 percent. Pediatricians had the largest decline, at 75.8 percent, and cardiologists had the smallest, at 13.5 percent. After adjusting for inflation, researchers found that the amount of the payment increased by 23.3 percent and was also dependent on specialty. Neurosurgery had the highest mean payment, and dermatology had the lowest. The percentage of payments exceeding $1 million also increased during the same time period. Dr. Adam Schaffer, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study, speculated that recent tort reform, which places statutory limits on medical malpractice damages, could be responsible for the decline in paid claims. "Fewer attorneys could be interested in taking claims if there's going to be a smaller potential payout, given that most attorneys are paid on a contingency basis," he explained. Schaffer also pointed to claim screening panels and additional procedural hurdles to explain the decline in claims, but this could also account for the rise in payouts -- if only the most ironclad malpractice claims are being made and meeting the procedural requirements, the average payout per claim would be expected to rise. What Does It All Mean? The study could mean that lawyers are more skittish about taking on medical malpractice cases, but those that they do accept might be in for a bigger payday at the end. Medical malpractice claims are complicated, and even just dealing with a physician's insurance company can be difficult. If you've suffered an injury in a medical context, contact and experienced attorney near you. Related Resources: Think you have a medical malpractice claim? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) Fewer Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Succeed, but Payouts Are Up (CBS News) Getting Paid: Collecting on a Judgment or Jury Award (FindLaw's Injured) How Much Is Your Personal Injury Case Worth? (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading

Can You Sue Your Parents for Child Abuse?

Technically, the law permits a child to sue their parents as a result of child abuse. There are no special rules preventing this type of lawsuit. However, what a child considers to be abuse may not actually be legally considered abuse. Parents are generally permitted to punish their children, which can include depriving children of luxuries such as video games, computers, internet access, a car, dating, seeing friends, or even dessert. A parent can make a child sit in the corner, go to their room, do chores, or worse, babysit their siblings. Depending on the manner in which it is done, even corporal punishment or spankings can be okay in the eyes of the law (so long as they are not excessive) . Why Children Sue Parents Even though it seems rather out of character for a child to sue their parents, it happens. Most frequently, like all lawsuits, it’s about money. Recently, the Canning family’s case in New Jersey made national headlines.The 18-year-old daughter, still in high school, was suing her parents after moving out over disagreements over the house rules. However, the legal complaint that was filed alleged all sorts of objectionable, questionable, and downright deplorable parenting, ranging from crude comments to irresponsible boozing. The matter did not make it very far, particularly after the judge denied the child’s request for an emergency child support order of $650 per week. When to Sue? In every state, the statute of limitations for a minor’s legal claims do not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of majority. That means that if a state provides a two year statute of limitations on a particular claim, and a child is injured at age 12, they will have 2 years to file their claim after they turn 18 years old. Even if an adult child is suing a parent as a result of sexual abuse, or rape, there will likely be a short statute of limitations of no more than a few years after the child turns 18. Worthwhile to Sue? Regardless of whether the law supports an abused child’s case for damages against their parents, a prospective plaintiff may want to think twice before filing suit. Even assuming that the case is winnable, whether or not a judgment can be collected from a defendant is a wholly different issue. If a parent was convicted of a criminal act related to the abuse, or is presently incarcerated, there is a strong likelihood that any judgment a plaintiff secures won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.To find out if it’s worth your time to pursue a legal claim, speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get matched with a local attorney. (Consumer Injury) Student Suing Parents Loses 1st Round, but Case Isn’t Over (FindLaw’s Legally Weird) Son Sues Mom, Pop for Overtime at Family Biz (FindLaw’s Free Enterprise) Homeless Man Sues Parents for Not Loving Him Enough (FindLaw’s Legally Weird)
continue reading

How Much Is a Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit Worth?

When it comes to evaluating the value of any injury case, most people understand that bigger injuries correlate to bigger settlements. When it comes to dog bites and animal attacks, the owners will usually be held liable, barring extraordinary circumstances. Not all animal bite cases will be severe injuries, or equate to large monetary damages. Typically, larger monetary awards occur if an animal attack leaves visible scarring, requires surgery extended medical care, or results in the need for mental health therapy, such as PTSD counseling. What’s a Dog Bite Case Worth? An injury settlement or award will generally reimburse an injury victim for their medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and other consequential damages. However, if a person receives a settlement that includes reimbursement for medical bills, they may be required to pay back a health insurer, or even pay outstanding medical bills (if any). A person can also receive monetary compensation for pain and suffering. Usually awards for pain and suffering will depend on the severity of the injury and the extent to which the recovery and injury disrupted a person’s regular life. There is no standardization to the valuation of pain and suffering. When to Sue? After being bitten by a dog, you may be very upset, to the point where you may consider suing simply as a matter of principle. But all strong feelings aside, when should you actually take steps to bring legal action? Is it worth your time to sue? Here are a few points to consider:Frequently, a pet owner’s home-owner’s insurance will provide coverage for dog bites. But, if the pet owner responsible for your injuries is uninsured and has no assets, then there may be no way to actually collect a judgment.The decision not to sue for this reason, however, should be carefully evaluated with the help of an attorney. Also, if you decide not to sue, you may wish to re-evaluate that decision down the road. But be forewarned, most injury claims must be brought within one or two years, depending on your state law. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get matched with a local attorney. (Consumer Injury) How Much is My Pet’s Injury Worth? (FindLaw’s Injured) Housemates Could Be Liable for Dog Bites (FindLaw’s Injured) Dog Bite Injuries: Do You Have a Case? (FindLaw’s Injured)
continue reading

How Does SSDI Impact an Injury Lawsuit?

If you are on SSDI and are considering filing a lawsuit or pursuing an injury claim, you may be concerned about how a settlement or court award could impact your receipt of benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal program designed to assist disabled individuals that are unable to work by providing those individuals with an income source. While SSDI will want to know if you have received wages, the general rule is that an injury settlement or court award for an injury case are not wages, UNLESS a portion of that award is meant to compensate you specifically for lost wages. Also, it should be noted that if you receive punitive or exemplary damages, or any interest on the award, these may also be concerned as unearned income. Can SSDI Affect Your Settlement? While your SSDI is generally safe from loss as a result of an injury settlement or court award, your settlement or award may be less than you might expect because of your SSDI. Often, injury plaintiffs are disappointed when they find out that their cases are not as highly valued as they expected. Many times, a case’s high value lies in the plaintiff’s status as a high-wage earner. If someone who makes $1,000,000 per year misses one day of work because of the injury, that one day of lost wages could be worth at least $2,700 or more. If that person misses ten days, that can add $27,000 to their case. If you are on SSDI, there will be no wage loss to recover because SSDI covers your wages, and therefore, any settlement may feel a little bit lower than you might have expected. Don’t Confuse SSI With SSDI It is important to not confuse SSI with SSDI. Supplmental Security Income (SSI) is a need-based federal program that provides disabled and elderly individuals with income to supplemental SSDI or regular social security benefits. Any income or monies a person receives can have an impact on a recipient of SSI benefits. It is highly advisable for a recipient of SSI to seek the advice of an attorney regarding how to handle settlement or court award money as SSI benefits can be easily lost if a person receives a lump sum. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get matched with a local attorney. (Consumer Injury) If You Can’t Get Workers’ Comp, Can You Get SSDI? (FindLaw’s Injured) 5 Things a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can’t) (FindLaw’s Injured) Personal Injury Lawyer Dropped Your Case? Now What? (FindLaw’s Injured) When to Sue a Pediatrician for Malpractice (FindLaw’s Injured)
continue reading

Driver Liability for Cell Phone Related Car Accident

How an accident happens will largely determine who is ultimately held liable. If the at fault driver was found to have caused the accident while talking or texting, they will likely have more difficulty defending their case, and they may potentially face additional penalties. Nearly every state has laws on distracted driving, and most include some limitations on the use of cell phones by drivers. Regardless of whether you have an ear piece, integrated Bluetooth, or speakerphone system, if you are talking or texting on a cell phone while driving, an officer or other party can claim that you were driving while distracted. According to the most recent report by the NHTSA, one in ten on the road fatalities involved distraction. Accidents While Phoning or Texting If a driver is found to be at fault for an accident, then they can also be found liable for the injuries and property damage they caused. While a majority of auto accident cases settle out of court, the facts concerning how the crash happened are relevant to establishing the injured party's case for damages. When a jury is asked to decide an auto accident injury case, they will usually be tasked with deciding two primary issues:Whether the defendant caused the injuries and damages.How much money should be awarded to the plaintiff for suffering the injuries and damages. In most jurisdictions, if both parties are considered to be partly at fault, or fault is uncertain, the party that is found to be more than 50% at fault, generally is the party held responsible for the damages. If a party was on the phone when the accident occurred, they may be found some percentage (comparatively) at fault. In states like California, if a driver is found to be 25% at fault, any award they receive will be reduced by their percentage of fault. Rear-Ended While Talking on the Phone There are some auto-accident cases where it won't matter if the victim was on the phone or texting. If you are stopped at a red light, and you get rear-ended while texting or talking on the phone, it is highly unlikely that your texting or talking had anything to do with causing the accident. In this sort of a situation, your phone use, while still potentially against the law, generally cannot be used to attack liability. Related Resources: Find Personal Injury Lawyers in Your Area (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) What's More Dangerous Than Texting and Driving? (FindLaw's Injured) 1 in 4 Car Crashes Involves Cell Phone Use: Report (FindLaw's Injured) Is Apple Liable for Distracted Driving Accidents? (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading

When to Sue a Pediatrician for Malpractice

There are fewer malpractice claims against pediatricians than any other specialty, according to a recent study. But that same study concluded that a higher percentage of pediatric claims went to trial. Perhaps that's because, pediatricians are tasked with providing medical care for our children, and their mistakes, though few, can be especially tragic. Here's what you need to know about pediatric care and the possibility of medical malpractice lawsuits. Malpractice Elements Doctors, like anyone else, can be held liable for injuries they cause. And while state laws may vary, most medical malpractice lawsuits are premised on four main elements: Duty: Pediatricians owe their patients a duty of care, to diagnose and treat ailments to the same ability of other pediatricians. Breach: They can breach that duty by failing to meet the standard of care, such as by misdiagnosing or mistreating their child patients. Causation: A child patient can be injured as the result of a pediatrician's breach of duty, and in court they must prove these injuries were the fault of the pediatrician, and not something else, and that the pediatrician could or should have foreseen those injuries. Damages: The child patient's injuries, like medical expenses, emotional distress, or other harm must be compensable by money damages in order to recover in court. If all of these elements are found, you likely have a strong claim for pediatric malpractice, though proving each element of a case can be complicated. Pediatrician Malpractice Claims A pediatrician could be liable for medical malpractice for failing to diagnose an illness or medical issue, for misdiagnosing an ailment, or for prescribing the wrong treatment. Pediatricians could also be held liable for the negligent prescription of a medication or medical devices if they ignored the manufacturer's instructions, or prescribe an incorrect medication or dosage. To find out if you can sue a pediatrician for malpractice, you may want to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Related Resources: Does your child have an injury claim? Get matched with a local attorney. (Consumer Injury) 5 Signs You May Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney (FindLaw's Injured) Top Reasons Doctors Get Sued for Malpractice (FindLaw's Injured) Should Doctors Have to Tell Patients If They're on Probation? (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading

Chemical Spill in Kansas Hospitalizes Over 100 People

Last week, a Kansas-based manufacturer of food and beverage products accidently released a toxic chemical gas, a mixture of sodium hypocholorite and sulfuric acid, which sent over 100 people to the hospital. Fortunately, of the 125 people who sought medical attention, only two required an overnight stay in the hospital. MGP Ingredients, which was responsible for the spill, explained that the gas spill had dissipated after only a few hours. Additionally, the company has reported the incident to the EPA and plans to fully cooperate with the investigation. The company is also taking additional measures to avoid any future spills by engaging outside experts to investigate and assess the situation. How a Gas Spill Leads to Hospitalization While large gas spills are not everyday news, it is not an uncommon occurrence for people to be hospitalized for exposure to toxic gases. Most commonly it is due to carbon monoxide, which nearly everyone has been warned that it is the silent killer. Unfortunately, when a large gas spill happens near populated areas, individuals in the surrounding areas can have their health impacted. Usually, it is just for a short duration and only effects people within a certain radius from the spill. When the air that people breath has its chemical concentration changed, people can begin to notice problems, such as: Shortness of breath Light-headedness or dizziness Headache Nausea The symptoms can vary from severe to mild, from person to person, and in type or duration. For instance, a person with asthma, or another respiratory condition, will likely be more severely affected than someone without a respiratory condition. Can a Company Be Held Liable for a Chemical Gas Spill? When a toxic gas spill occurs, manufacturers can not only be held liable to the public for violations of anti-pollution laws, but can also be held liable to individuals who were injured, and/or affected, on a negligence theory. Since public gas spills tend to be atmospheric, meaning that a company released gas outside and not inside their buildings or buildings own by others, people generally are not severely affected. Nevertheless, companies can still be held liable for injuries or damages that an accidental release of gas can cause. The numerous people who went to the hospital as a result of the recent Atchison, Kansas gas spill may have potential claims or lawsuits against MGP Ingredients as a result of the spill. While injuries of a very short duration may not be valued very highly, medical bills as well as incidental or special damages can also be assessed, in addition to damages for pain and distress. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get matched with a local attorney. (Consumer Injury) Health Hazards (FindLaw’s Injured) Samsung Hit With First U.S. Lawsuit for Exploding Note 7 Smartphone (FindLaw’s Injured) Student Slips in Vomit, Suffers Brain Damage, Sues School for $1.3M (FindLaw’s Injured)
continue reading

Suing Over Flawed Metal Hips Used in Replacements

After a trial in Texas this year, Johnson and Johnson was ordered to pay $502 million to five plaintiffs injured by the company’s flawed artificial hips. The hips, sold under the name Pinnacle, leached metals into patients’ bodies and failed prematurely, forcing the plaintiffs to undergo additional surgeries and endure more pain. A federal jury was definitely feeling the plaintiffs’ pain, considering that it awarded them $360 million in punitive damages based on Johnson and Johnson hiding flaws in the product and marketing the hips aggressively anyway. Let’s look at the claims, as reported by Bloomberg News, and what this means to you. Second Try This was not the first case complaining of Johnson and Johnson’s metal hip product — there are about 8,000 such cases filed reportedly, now consolidated in Texas federal court for pretrial procedures. But this was the first to succeed, as Johnson and Johnson won a prior trial by arguing that a surgeon had failed to properly place the hip in the patient’s body. In the more recent matter, all five patients had to have their Pinnacle replacement hips replaced surgically after they broke down prematurely due to the materials used and design flaws. The plaintiffs were awarded $142 million in compensable damages, apart from the $360 million in punitive damages, making for a total award of $502 million. But immediately after the jury decided to punish Johnson and Johnson, company attorney John Beisner told Bloomberg News that the company will appeal. He expects the damages award to be reduced substantially. “The grounds for appeal are strong and the punitive damages will be reduced to around $10 million subject to the Texas statutory cap,” he said. What This Means There are thousands of outstanding cases filed against Johnson and Johnson over the Pinnacle metal hip. Interestingly, the company stopped manufacturing the product in 2013 after US Food and Drug Administration regulations were tightened. It’s also notable that Johnson and Johnson already entered into a $2.5 billion settlement in 2010 over claims surrounding another of its artificial hips. Although it is unfortunate that people have suffered due to the company’s flawed devices, Johnson and Johnson’s track record with replacement hips and the outcome of the recent trial indicate that if you have been injured due to a flawed replacement hip, your chances of recovery are very good. Of course, no one can say much about a case in the abstract, so you will have to speak to a lawyer about the specifics. An attorney can assess your claim and advise you on next steps. Talk to a Lawyer If you’ve been injured due to a faulty hip replacement, or for any other reason, talk to a lawyer. Many attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to discuss your case. Related Resources: Injured by a metal hip replacement? Get your claim reviewed free. (Consumer Injury) Metal Hip Replacement Lawsuit (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law) DePuy Hip Implants (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law) DePuy Hip Replacements: FDA Takes Closer Look (FindLaw’s Injured)
continue reading

How Do You Prove Soft Tissue Injury?

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help. Soft tissue injuries are like feelings — they’re real and they hurt but they can be invisible and not everyone believes in them. For these reasons, proving this kind of injury can be difficult, or more difficult than a more obvious type of harm, like a broken leg. Still, people do recover legal remedies for soft tissue injuries every day, so it is not at all impossible to get compensation for your damages after an accident. Let’s look at proving negligence in the context of this type of claim. Soft Tissue Injury Soft tissue injury refers to damage to soft areas of the body, like ligaments, muscles, and tendons. A hard tissue injury, by contrast, refers to a broken bone or damage to a hard area of the body. While a soft tissue injury can seem less traumatic on the surface — who wouldn’t prefer a strain to a break? — this kind of harm can last a long time and cause discomfort and make everyday duties difficult. Sprains, strains, and contusions in soft tissue do not always manifest immediately after an accident but the pain can last for years, which is why people seek to recover damages for their invisible injuries. Proving Negligence In brief, negligence is proven by showing that a person who owed you a duty of care fell below the standard required and breached that duty. If this breach is the cause of your injury and you suffer compensable damages, then you can recover for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. But how do you prove you are truly sore if your injury is invisible? You will need to show medical records, evidence of having sought treatment and received a diagnosis. You can also support the claim with testimony, or affidavits. You may ask people who know you to speak about your limited mobility since the accident. You may also seek expert testimony to support your claim and explain to jurors the significance of your injury. A medical expert may testify about soft tissue injuries at trial, so that the jury better understands the harm in the way the medical community does. Although proving soft tissue injury may be more difficult than proving a broken leg, these types of claims are very common after car accidents. The force a vehicle exerts during a crash can cause a lot of damage to the human body, some of which may not register immediately. Whiplash The most common soft tissue injury is whiplash, officially known as cervical strain or sprain, or hyper-extension injury. As the official names indicate, whiplash happens when the body is strained or overextended in some way, causing damage. Whiplash is interesting because it illustrates the mysterious nature of soft tissue injury, and how dangerous this damage can be. Sometimes whiplash isn’t felt immediately after the accident but over time can manifest in stiffness, neck pain, back problems, and most alarmingly, cognitive issues. Injured? If you have been in a car accident and experienced an injury of any kind, speak to a lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) Types of Brain Injury (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law) Can I Get Compensation for Whiplash? (FindLaw’s Injured) Types of Car Accident Injuries (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
continue reading