Posts tagged with "medical malpractice"

Medical Malpractice – There’s nothing frivolous about being hurt

There’s a general perception by the public that there are a ton of medical malpractice cases that are being brought to court, and many of them are frivolous and are opportunistic attempts to make money. Frankly that isn’t true, and I’ll tell you why.

We handle a lot of medical malpractice cases here at our firm and we vet them very seriously. We probably reject 10 cases for every one that we would accept. Medical malpractice cases require an unbelievable amount of man hours, and unbelievable amount of money to prosecute. We take these cases on a contingent basis, so we’re not asking the clients for an money up front. We’re staking our money in trying to bring this case through litigation, and all the way to a trial if necessary.

The additional safeguard that exists is that medical malpractices are entitled to a tribunal. That is to say, a hearing before a judge, a lawyer and a medical doctor to determine whether a case has sufficient merit to move forward.

That’s why we are very careful about the cases that we take, and to take those cases that we believe has merit and we believe we can actually obtain a recovery for the client. You can reach us at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll be happy to go over your options and let you know what your rights are.

Can you win with a bad lawyer?

We’ve been in existence as a firm for over 20 years, and during that time we have handled every foreseeable type of personal injury case. From regular motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, and nursing home negligence, to quirky cases where a plane struck a house and injured people while they slept. We represented a poor woman who took medication that was mislabeled for over a month.

One of our attorneys had three tree cases, where someone was cutting down a tree and didn’t know what they were doing and the tree fell and injured someone. In one case, the tree fell and killed a gentleman.

With all of this experience I can tell you this unequivocally, it all comes down to your lawyer. Whether or not you’re going to get compensated, and more importantly, the amount of that compensation, comes down to the skill of the attorney you choose.

For the plaintiffs, it really is simple. They care about only one case: Theirs.

If it’s important to your family and your family’s future, then why take a chance? You want to go with someone who has experience and who has been there before.

With all the experience we have in the building, and having seen all these cases in every format, we feel comfortable with anything that comes in the door. We’re not the only one who say that, find out why Newsweek listed us as one of the top personal injury law firms in the country. Come give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll be happy to let you know what your options are.

Helpful tips when choosing a safe daycare center for your child

How to find a safe daycare for your kids

Finding a reliable daycare for your children is an anxiety-provoking event. You are turning your child over to others to take care of during the day, completely out of your sight. Very often people ask attorneys at our firm what they can do to ensure that their child is going to be looked after appropriately.

We always give them the same advice and tell them to go to the daycare center, make sure that it’s clean, talk to the people that run the daycare center and really try to feel them out and get to know them. Find out if they’ve taken a CPR course. See if they’ve taken a first aid course.

Find out if they’re insured.

Many people are shocked to learn that daycare centers in Massachusetts don’t need to be insured. There’s currently no law here requiring that they have insurance.

You want to ask those questions and determine whether or not if this is a place that you would want to leave your child. If you do, make sure you return a day or two later unannounced just to see how they’re taking care of the other children. That will give you some level of comfort in knowing that you’ve picked the right place.

Like anything, the more avid the parent is in making sure that their child is going to be safe, the greater the likelihood that the child will be safe in daycare.

If it’s too late for your family to avoid a daycare accident, or you want to hear what your legal rights are, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll be happy to talk to you.

These are the three elements of a personal injury lawsuit

If you don’t have these three things, you don’t have a case

Personal injury litigation is a complex subject and we never expect clients to come in knowing what all of their rights are. We’re always ready to listen to someone about their experience and let them know if they have a case or not.

Every case needs to have the following chain of three things: Liability, causation and damages. If it misses one, a lawsuit is not possible. For an example, imagine a person became violently ill after eating food at an expensive vacation resort.

The three elements of a personal injury case

Liability is the first step. Did the the defendant, or defendants, act carelessly that allowed the accident to occur. For this example, did the resort staff serve undercooked or spoiled food? Can we prove that they did?

If we can prove liability, we move on to the next step: Causation. Did the negligent behavior from the defendant cause the accident or injury? It’s not enough that the plaintiff was staying at the resort and ate the food, can we show that it was the resort’s food that made them sick, and not something else? If not, the lawsuit won’t happen.

Once we have causality established, we then have to show that the plaintiff suffered real damages. Did the victim require expensive medical treatment, miss work, or suffer excruciating pain? Did the foodborne illness cause a permanent injury or disfigurement?

It’s not enough to say the patient was in danger, they must have had real damages to be compensated through the lawsuit. You can’t sue for what could have happened, it needs to have caused them to directly suffer harm.. Without liability, causation and damages, no personal injury case can proceed.

Medical Negligence Now Identified As The Third Leading Cause of Death In U.S.

As unbelievable as it may seem, a study undertaken by Johns Hopkins has concluded that medical negligence is now deemed to be the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer.  The facts surrounding this revelation are nothing short of staggering.  For example, the study concludes that the majority of medical negligence incidents are typically unreported.  This means that the documented 251,454 deaths occasioned last year by medical negligence omits entirely the larger number of unreported cases.  It also omits deaths caused by negligence at nursing homes throughout the U.S.  This trend has been in escalation for quite some time.  For example, in 1999 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office reported that as many as 180,000 premature deaths were caused by medical negligence among Medicare patients alone.

Owing to disinformation perpetuated by a very effective, expensive and protracted marketing campaign, insurance companies have created the widely held impression that frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits have resulted in an exorbitant increase in physicians’ malpractice premiums.  This phenomena, so the fiction goes, has both escalated the consumer’s cost of health care while driving a certain percentage of qualified physicians to leave their  profession altogether.  Nothing could be further from the truth, however.  That the nation’s healthcare system is broken is undisputed.  The reason for its dysfunction, however, is the endless bureaucracy and red tape machinated by the insurers themselves.  As presently constituted, the  system foists artificial burdens and barriers on doctors who, after all, should make recommendations and decisions based upon a patient’s need and not upon the need to successfully navigate the insurance industry’s draconian rules.

In Massachusetts, there are other safeguards to prevent meritless lawsuits against physicians.  For example, in each instance, a Tribunal is convened in court which is comprised of a judge, a lawyer and a medical professional.  Unless a majority of the tribunal is adequately convinced that a potential case has merit, the case is dismissed.  This gate-keeping function, along with the not unsubstantial expense of pursuing a medical malpractice case usually discourages frivolous cases from being pursued in the first place.

Vigilance is the key to avoiding medical negligence.  You should seek to be your own advocate and ask your doctor lots of questions to satisfy yourself that you are receiving appropriate care.  To this end, there is no such thing as a “stupid” question.  Seeking a second opinion is yet another way of increasing your odds of avoiding malpractice.  While the United States enjoys the finest health care in the world, like all other things in life, it isn’t perfect.  Your avid awareness and participation in your medical care ensures the best possible result.

It is not talent, intelligence or even training that wins cases. It's not experience. It's pure persistence.

Persistence, Pure and Simple

The old joke goes something like this: “What is the definition of ‘minor’ surgery?”

Answer: “When someone else has to have the surgery.”

It is an entirely human phenomenon for us to look at things differently when they directly affect us as opposed to somebody else.

Like most metropolitan areas in America, Massachusetts is saturated with lawyers.  Most find this fact repugnant.  That repugnancy is immediately replaced with relief, however, when it is you that desperately needs the lawyer.  With so many excellent legal minds in a concentrated area, what quality sets our firm apart from the others?  In a word: persistence.  Calvin Coolidge had it exactly right:

 

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

 

The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Persistence is our hallmark; determination, our most valuable asset.  Our clients know that we are ‘in it’ for the long haul, however long it takes and wherever the trail leads.

The key to our success?  Persistence, pure and simple.

Tales from our files – Lessons Learned Concerning Nursing Home Care

Nursing Home Care

My legal practice is concentrated in assisting victims of nursing home negligence throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Over my twenty-five year career, I believe I’ve seen nearly every conceivable fact pattern concerning neglect and abuse at these facilities. It recently occurred to me that providing examples of the problems that my clients have encountered over the years might serve a useful purpose in helping others to avoid common lapses in nursing home care.

Upon the initial admission to a nursing home, the staff is obligated to conduct an assessment of each patient to properly assess that person’s needs and to create an individualized “Care Plan” for them. If done correctly, the assessment will determine, among other things, whether an immobile patient requires assistance in “transferring” or moving from bed to chair or to the bathroom. The overall safety and welfare of the patient is the principle concern, of course. Sometimes, however, facilities are either understaffed, unprepared or simply “too busy” to properly and safely address the critical needs of their residents.

I had the honor to represent an 88 year old woman that I’ll call “Ann.” She had long been a resident of the defendant’s facility due to advanced Alzheimer’s Disease and other medical complications. Sadly, Ann was unable to verbally express herself, was non-ambulatory and remained completely dependent upon the defendant’s staff for all activities of daily living. Despite her many medical complications, Ann did not suffer from osteoporosis, however. The importance of this latter fact will become clear as you read on.

One day, Ann was being transferred to her bed with the use of a machine known as a Hoyer lift. It was immediately after this transfer that the she began to crudely express that she was in pain. Oddly, no trauma, fall or other “event” was recorded by the defendant’s employees in Ann’s medical chart. When her pain became unbearable, Ann was transferred to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a markedly displaced femur fracture with fragmentation and a massive hematoma. Her extensive injuries required immediate surgery. Ann’s family suspected that she had been dropped during the transfer on the Hoyer lift but the facility vigorously denied this. The case was further complicated inasmuch as there was no independent witness to any suspected accident. We argued that the displaced fracture of the patient’s femur, the body’s largest and strongest bone, was sufficient evidence that a trauma had indeed occurred. Moreover, we argued that the “fragmentation” (splintered bones) and “hematoma” (deep bruising) were corroborating evidence of a traumatic event that the facility had conveniently neglected to record. In response, the facility hired a medical expert who was prepared to testify at trial that Ann could have suffered her fracture by “organic means” (e.g. brittle bones in the elderly can sometimes break spontaneously-without a trauma). They cited the common occurrence of a senior suffering a rib fracture after a hearty sneeze. We successfully refuted this suggestion by conclusively demonstrating that Ann did not previously suffer from osteoporosis or other skeletal degeneration which would tend to make her bones exceedingly brittle and thus subject to fracture without first suffering a trauma. During the course of our investigation we also discovered that, even before Ann was a resident, this particular facility engaged in a systemic failure to promptly and accurately report accidents that injured their residents.

A large settlement was reached on the eve of trial, presumably because the facility was fairly convinced that a jury would likely punish them for their deception in failing to own up to their role in both causing and properly reporting Ann’s accident.

As always, a family’s best defense against nursing home neglect is both vigilance and active involvement in the care of their loved one.

Nursing home negligence allegedly causes death of a woman

Like most people, many Massachusetts residents rely on nursing homes for the high-quality care of their loved ones. When choosing a nursing home, family members carefully check out the facilities and staff, find a home they can trust and place their loved ones in their care. Sometimes, however, nursing home negligence causes injuries to those the home should be caring for. In some shocking incidents, the staff fails to pay adequate attention to nursing home residents and cause injuries to them.

A nursing home resident allegedly had both legs broken and eventually died because a nurse’s aide did not lift her properly. The patient cried out in pain and showed other signs of distress, but the nursing home staff ignored her complaints for two weeks. She was then transferred to a hospital, where she died after four days.

The elderly are frail and can easily suffer injuries. They need care and attention, and therefore often live in nursing homes. Understaffing and inadequate training aggravate the everyday problems of running a nursing home, in turn affecting the quality of care. The staff may not pay attention to the needs of the elderly and ignore their health conditions. Negligence can lead to bedsores, medication errors and malnutrition. The result is that the loved one suffers unnecessarily.

Although a death cannot be reversed, negligent parties may be held liable for their actions, and the family may claim damages and compensation from the care provider. However, the claimants need to prove that the injury was caused by the negligence of the nursing home staff, and will need extensive evidence and testimony from experts in medicine and other relevant fields. Although age can lessen the value of the claim, strong evidence can help the family prove their case.

Source: The Herald Sun, “Daughter appeals nursing home jury verdict,” Beth Velliquette, Jan. 25, 2013