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Can You Sue for a Misdiagnosis?

Every year, 12 million adults in the United States are misdiagnosed by doctors. That’s 1 in 20 patients. In a recent shocking case, Dr. Farid Fata plead guilty to misdiagnosing health patients with cancer. He tortured more than 500 patients with unnecessary chemotherapy treatments and took millions of dollars from the government in false Medicare claims. A few of his patients even died. If a doctor misdiagnosed you, can you sue? Common Misdiagnoses With 1 in 20 patients misdiagnosed, doctors actually have a pretty good 95 percent success rate. However, a misdiagnosis could mean an illness goes untreated for too long, or a patient must suffer through unnecessary treatments. Here are some commonly misdiagnosed illnesses: Asthma — Misdiagnosed as recurring bronchitis Heart Attack — Misdiagnosed as indigestion, panic attack Lyme disease — Misdiagnosed as the flu, depression, or mononucleosis Parkinson’s — Misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s, stroke, or stress Lupus — Misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis Suing for Negligence In most medical malpractice claims for misdiagnoses, you’d probably be suing for negligence. To claim negligence you’d have to show: Duty — Did the doctor have a duty to care for you? Normally, when there is a doctor patient relationship, the doctor has a duty to act as a reasonably competent doctor. Breach — Did the doctor breach the duty? Just because a doctor misdiagnosed an illness, doesn’t necessarily mean he was acting negligently. To show breach of duty, you’d have to be able to prove that a different reasonably competent doctor would have been able to diagnose the illness properly Causation - Did the doctor’s misdiagnoses actually cause you harm? Your doctor may have misdiagnose you with cancer instead of the flu, but the next day someone ran you over killing you. The doctor’s misdiagnoses was not the cause of your injury. Damages — Did the misdiagnoses cause you damages? The doctor may have misdiagnosed you with migraines instead of a flu. However, he prescribed you Tylenol, which helped cure your flu as well. This means you didn’t suffer any damages because of the misdiagnosis. Proving a medical malpractice claim is complex requiring expert testimony and lengthy litigation. If your doctor misdiagnosed you and caused you harm, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for help. Related Resources: Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) Patients give horror stories as cancer doctor gets 45 years (CNN) Botched Vasectomy: Parents Sue Doctor for $650K to Raise Child (FindLaw’s Legal Grounds) What is Medical Malpractice? What is Not? (FindLaw’s Injured)
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Fracking Health Risks: Latino Children in Danger?

A new lawsuit claims that California's failure to regulate the fracking operations in the state has disproportionately endangered the health of Latino children. Rodrigo Romo has sued Governor Jerry Brown and California's Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources, seeking to invalidate recent fracking legislation and bar current fracking operations. Romo's claims center on the proximity of fracking wells to schools -- specifically the school his daughters attend, Sequoia Elementary School, which sits just half a mile from three wells. What the Frack? Romo's lawsuit alleges some sobering facts. As reported by Courthouse News: The Kern County resident claims that 5.4 million Californians live within a mile of an active oil or gas well, and that a disparate amount of such schools have with large Latino enrollments. He says one of his daughters began to suffer severe asthma and epileptic attacks since fracking began 1,200 feet from her elementary school. The suit also claims that teachers often keep schoolchildren inside, banning outdoor recess for weeks because of "bad smells assumed to be associated with the well stimulations." Eighty-six percent of Sequoia's enrollment is Latino. That's Fracked Up. Gov. Brown signed new fracking regulations into law two years ago, but Romo and others contend the provisions of SB-4 don't go far enough. While the regulations focus on groundwater protections, Romo claims his daughter has suffered from asthma attacks and epileptic seizures since the fracking well opened near her school. An independent study into the health risks of fracking called for additional controls on chemicals and even a ban until scientists can gather more definitive data on fracking's impact on the environment and human health. And a Texas family recently won a $3 million fracking pollution lawsuit against a drilling company, which could provide some precedent for Romo's suit. In that case, a nearby well caused the family years of sickness, killed livestock and pets, and eventually forced them off of their 40-acre ranch. Related Resources: Fracking Called Special Threat to Latino Kids (Courthouse News Service) Does Fracking Settlement's Gag Order Apply to Kids? (FindLaw's Legally Weird) Colo. Fracking Site Explosion Leaves 1 Dead, 2 Injured (FindLaw's Injured) Vermont Bans Fracking, Citing Injury Concerns (FindLaw's Injured)
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Can You Sue for Being Stuck in an Elevator?

What’s your worst nightmare? Mine is getting stuck in an elevator. There’s a slight twinge of fear every time I step in an elevator. The fear grows when more than three people enter it with me. When the doors don’t open right away when the elevator reaches my level, the fear turns into momentary panic. Don’t laugh. Getting stuck or injured in an elevator is not as rare as you would think! If you ever get stuck in an elevator, can you sue? Elevator Malfunctions and Injuries While elevator accident aren’t as common as car accidents, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that as many 30 people are killed and 17,000 injured in elevator accidents every year. In 1999, Nicholas White was stuck in an elevator for 41 hours before he was rescued. In 2003, Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh was killed and decapitated when an elevator’s doors trapped him, and the elevator began to rise with him half in and half out of the elevator. Karin Steinau was already in the elevator when Dr. Nikaidoh was killed. When the elevator finally stopped halfway between floors, Steinau was stuck in the elevator with Dr. Nikaidoh’s decapitated head for over an hour! Unsurprisingly, all three people I just mentioned sued. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress In many elevator lawsuits, the elevator manufacturer, the elevator maintenance company, or the building owner may all be sued for negligent infliction of emotional distress. To win such a claim, victims will have to show: Duty — The defendant owed some kind of duty, usually the duty to maintain, to the victim. Breach — The defendant failed to do his duty. Usually, this means the manufacturer created a dangerous and unsafe elevator, or the maintenance company failed to make necessary repairs. Causation — The elevator’s malfunction caused the victim’s injuries. Damages — The victim suffered harm, such as mental distress, and damages. Usually, the question of damages is the hardest to prove. To get damages for emotional distress, courts often require the distress to be connected to or manifested as some kind of physical injury. So, unless you suffered an injury such as a broken bone when the elevator dropped abruptly, or an ulcer caused by stress and fear, you may not be able to win any compensation. If you’re ever injured after being stuck in an elevator, consult an experienced personal injury attorney for help. But, better yet, avoid the issue altogether and take the stairs. It’s healthier and less scary. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (FindLaw’s Learn About The Law) Do You Have Privacy Rights in an Elevator? (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life) NYC Elevator Accident Witness to Sue for Trauma (FindLaw’s Injured)
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Okla. Woman Sues, Alleging Fracking-Related Earthquake Injury

An Oklahoma woman who claims that nearby fracking operations caused an earthquake in which she was injured has filed a lawsuit against two energy companies. Sandra Ladra was watching a college football game at home in 2011 when a magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck, reports Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV. The earthquake dislodged rocks from Ladra's chimney which she claims struck her in the legs, causing injuries to both her legs and knees which her lawyer says will require surgery. How does Ladra plan on pinning responsibility for her injuries on the defendants, New Dominion LLC and Spess Oil Company? Earthquakes Reportedly Caused by Wastewater Injection Ladra is claiming that the earthquake that caused her injury was itself caused by the injection of wastewater created during the fracking process. Her lawsuit claims this wastewater injection shifted faults lines causing earthquakes like the one that struck her home. Fracking refers to the process of extracting oil and natural gas from the ground by using hydraulic fracturing. The process generates wastewater, which is typically disposed of in deep underground wells. This is not the first lawsuit claiming that underground wastewater injection has caused earthquakes. In 2013, more than a dozen Arkansas landowners brought a lawsuit against the owners of fracking wells, claiming that earthquakes caused by the wastewater injection had damages their homes, reports Reuters. Proving Negligence To hold the energy company liable for her injuries, Ladra will likely have to show that they acted negligently in disposing of the wastewater. Proving negligence typically requires not just prove that a person or in this case a corporation's actions caused an injury, but also that the person acted unreasonably under the circumstances. As injecting wastewater into underground wells appears to be the standard practice of the fracking industry, it may be difficult for Ladra to show that doing so was a breach of the energy companies' duty to operate safely. Related Resources: Vermont Bans Fracking, Citing Injury Concerns (FindLaw's Injured) Texas Family Wins $3M Fracking-Pollution Lawsuit (FindLaw's Injured) Does Fracking Settlement's Gag Order Apply to Kids? (FindLaw's Legally Weird) Ill. Benzene Lawsuit Targets Shell Oil Spill (FindLaw's Injured)
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