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Injury Law Blog

What's with all the Latin legal terms?

pillars-T.JPGHow did "people suing insurance companies" become such a thing?

First of all, it is important to think of "law" as an alternative to war and violence. Three thousand years ago, no one had rights. Powerful parties were free to pillage, rob and slaughter. You couldn't take these people to court.

A tooth for a tooth

In ancient Babylon, the ethic of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" evolved. It appears in both the code of Hammurabi and in the Torah. It evolved not to protect the little guy, but as a way for competing factions to avoid bloodshed. If a henchman of one band lost an eye, he was able to literally "sue" for the plucking of his attacker's eye. Eye-for-an-eye established proportionality as a principle: one eye for one eye, and no more.

Gradually, a legal profession formed to represent these factions. In Greece and Rome, lawyers represented parties who were wronged or harmed, seeking satisfaction. Lawyers were seen as friends of the plaintiff who knew the right things to say in court. By the first century AD, lawyers were seen as an actual profession.

When the latest new product puts you on your back

stretcher-T.JPGDangerous products, also called product liability, is an area of law that is familiar to people, but at the same time surprisingly new.

Familiar cases involve defective tires and brakes, water heaters that cause fires and scaldings, and everyday products that fail to contain necessary safety instructions. Our firm has been effectively seeking compensation for such injuries for years.

But because ours is a dynamic and innovative economy, new dangers are always crowding onto the market. These new dangers have little case law behind them, so they can require new thinking and up-to-date knowledge of the law as it evolves.

Examples of these new issues:

Driverless cars. Five years ago, no one was talking about autonomous vehicles. Now we are on the brink of major rollouts of driverless cars and trucks. Litigation will swing from negligent drivers to negligence owing to poor design, a bug in the software, mechanical failures and unforeseen situations.

Flammable cell phones. You remember the massive recall of Samsung smartphones in 2016. Chances are, another product will cause similar injuries in the weeks and months ahead. Samsung this week announced that the firs were caused by batteries that were the wrong size,

Exploding e-cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes were supposed to be a safer way to get nicotine into your system. But they're not safe when they explode in your pants pocket.

Over 7 worker amputations per day in the U.S.

On average, more than seven workers lose an appendage a day in the United States, according to new data released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and a release by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

While more than 90% of the lost appendages are fingers, workers have also permanently lost hands, feet, toes and other body parts to a workplace injury.

How much is emotional pain worth?

A gynecologist has been secretly taking explicit photographs and videos of his patients without their knowledge or consent. How much is their emotional pain worth?

This question is at the heart of a case surrounding a Johns Hopkins gynecologist named Nikita Levy, who had taken thousands of videos and images of his patients since beginning to practice in 1988. In February 2013, authorities brought forward charges against Mr. Levy, who committed suicide days later. 

Study: ignition interlock devices are working

Even the threat of an interlock device is successfully dissuading potential drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel, according to research. Fear that they will be saddled with the breath-testing device is reportedly reducing instances of drunk driving in states that mandate interlock installation for even first-time DUI offenders, according to an article by the Washington Post and research by Johns Hopkins.

The interlock device, which requires the vehicle operator to blow into them before the engine can start, are reportedly an effective tool to ward off instances of drunk driving.

Fatal crashes: what are the most common causes?

While fatal auto accidents are tragic, do you stop and wonder what are the most common causes for such crashes?

The Auto Insurance Center set out to find the answer to this question, according to an article by Business Insider. The data, which includes a variety of information on both driver and passenger fatalities, was compiled based on research recorded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Fatal Accident Reporting System for a span from 2009 to 2013.

New distracted driving laws for 2017

It is now common knowledge that distracted driving is currently one of the single greatest hazards for people on public roads. While there are many things that distract people from focusing completely on the task of driving, research has shown that mobile device and smart phone usage is one of the most prevalent sources of distraction.

In response to this growing concern, many states have enacted laws and regulations limiting the legal uses of devices while operating a vehicle and California is one of those states. In a large number of states, the laws put into place are designed to prevent texting and driving in particular, but a new California law that has gone into effect with the New Year goes a step further.

What state has the most bicycle deaths every year? Ours!

bicyclecrash.JPGIt's not a big surprise that California leads the nation, year after year, in bicycle fatalities. We have the most people. We have more bicyclists. We have the most miles of roads and highways of any other state. And we know that the car is king in California.

The most recent statistics show California averaging 113 deaths per year. The next highest bike fatality state is Florida with 110.

(Florida actually has the worst record, if you look at deaths per million of population. The safest is Maine, averaging only one fatality annually.)

The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that adult men account for three out of every four cyclist deaths. Boys age 20 or younger make up 14 percent of cyclist fatalities. Adult females constitute 10 percent of fatalities. Girls 20 or younger account for only 2 percent. As might be expected, more death occurred in cities than outside cities.

Safety note: in 65 percent of bike fatalities, riders were not wearing helmets.

Execs at contaminated scope company plead the Fifth.

Under federal investigation for their role in an outbreak of a "superbug," three executives from Olympus Corp., a scope making company, invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during recent questioning. 

During two days of depositions, the executives refused to answer questions related to internal company emails, according to an article by Med City News

Olympus Executives Plead the 5th

Three executives from Olympus Corp. repeatedly refused to answer questions during depositions in Tokyo on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. in regards to the company's role in superbug outbreaks. But according to accusations in civil cases and in a federal investigation, Susumu Nishina told the U.S.-based managers of the company in 2013 not to issue warnings to hospitals and doctors despite early reports of scope-related infections from U.S., French and Dutch hospitals.

According to a story reported in the Los Angeles Times and Kaiser Health News, there are internal emails that are key evidence for a number of civil suits - at least 35 patients in American hospitals have died since 2013 after getting infections from Olympus duodenoscopes, which are commonly used lighted gastro-intestinal scopes sent down a patient's throat to look deep inside the body. It is used 700,000 times annually, but has been found to be extremely difficult to clean. This means infections from one patient can then be transferred to the next one.

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