$ 14 million is awarded to a woman who suffered permanent injuries after taking the drug Yasmin

picture for blog post april 26 2014A jury has awarded $14 million to a woman who sued her doctor after a stroke she suffered after taking the birth control drug Yasmin.  It was reported that she had a stroke that paralyzed her left side and caused permanent brain injury 13 days after taking Yazmin.  Similarly, a $2.5 million settlement in the same matter was reached with the Medical Center.

The maker of the drug, Bayer, has also been faced with lawsuits from other women who claim that the contraceptive has caused blood clots that have led to serious health conditions.  Nevertheless, the company claims that the drug is safe if used as directed.

These cases can fall under two legal categories:  1.)  Medical Malpractice; and 2.)  Product Liability.  To stay abreast of what drugs and other products are being recalled you can visit the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission and http://www.recalls.gov, and you can be added to the emailing list for both of these agencies to receive up to date information about product recalls.

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Nursing Home Patients and Over Prescribed Medication that can lead to Death

blog april 24 photo about nursing homes pillsAnother way that people in nursing homes are abused is by the overuse of Anti-Psychotic drugs such as Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Abilify.  Under the right circumstances, these drugs can be very beneficial.  Under the wrong circumstances or in the wrong doses, however, these drugs can cause catastrophic injuries or death in a nursing home or treatment care facility.  It has been shown that these drugs have been overused in nursing homes leading to catastrophic injuries and death.

These and other similar drugs are most commonly prescribed to treat people with bi-polar or schizophrenia conditions.  Doctors are now, however, prescribing these drugs to nursing home residents suffering from dementia  and to other adults suffering from insomnia.  In fact, approximately 22 percent of all nursing home residents in the United States are prescribed these and other anti-psychotic drugs.  Although some patients do benefit from these drugs, it has been shown that these drugs are now commonly over prescribed.

The American Psychiatric Association launched an initiative to help curtail the overuse of anti-psychotics in an effort to inform the public about the potential risks of overuse, USA Today reported.  Joel Yager, a psychiatry professor at the University of Colorado Boulder reported to USA Today that doctors “are doing what they think might help,” but they are relying too heavily on these drugs without trying other alternatives first or carefully evaluating the effects anti-psychotics have on their patients.

Other reasons these drugs have been used is to restrain unruly patients, which is no longer legal, and, it is believed that the use of these drugs is in response to inadequate staffing in nursing home.

It is not uncommon for a nursing home patient to take several different medications each day and antipsychotic drugs can interact negatively with their other medications and can further heavily sedate an elderly person, which in turn can make them become unresponsive or unconscious. These drugs can also make a nursing home resident more prone to falls and other injuries. Use of these drugs has also been tied to an increase risk of strokes and respiratory conditions as well.

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$ 5.2 Million Awarded to a Florida Boy who was Bullied on the Bus and at School

stop bullying 2014A South Florida jury has awarded more than $5.2 million to a boy who sued a charter school claiming he was bullied and sexually assaulted by an older student; the bullying started when the child was age 7.  The jury decided that the school was negligent in failing to stop the assaults.  In many cases in Georgia, however, schools claim sovereign (i.e. State) immunity when a child is hurt at the school.  

In fact, the leading case in Georgia decided by the Georgia Supreme Court clearly absolved the schools from liability if a student was injured at school.  Bullying, however, seems to be changing the landscape as discussed in my Spring, 2014 newsletter Legal Matters.

Bullying is not a new issue.  Bullying has been going on since the 1800’s and has been litigated in the Georgia Courts as early as 1871.  It has only been recently that we are taking a more serious approach to this crime against a person.

In Georgia, the code that covers actions by juveniles is governed by the Official Code of Georgia Annotated Title 15.  For adults, this type of behavior could fall into many legal crimes against a person including, but not limited to, simple assault, aggravated assault, simple battery, aggravated battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), stalking, and even rise to the level of homicide.

If a person is injured when bullied, then it is imperative that you seek legal counsel immediately in this matter for personal injuries or death that may have resulted from the attack.  This is unacceptable and there are many legal remedies such as compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, temporary and/or permanent disability, humiliation, scarring on any part of the body, loss of use of a limb, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, wrongful death, and punitive damages which are not always available in other types of personal injury cases.

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Jury Awards $ 7M to Children of Woman Killed on the side of the Road in Georgia after Breaking Down

flat tire car crashA Fulton County jury awarded nearly $7 million to the children of a 46 year woman killed as she and the driver of the car in which she was a passenger were attempting to change a flat tire on the highway.  As the woman who was the passenger went to the back of the car and was attempting to remove the spare tire from the trunk, another car slammed into the women and the car, and the woman was pinned between the cars and died at the scene.

The driver of the car that was broken down was seriously injured.  The driver of the car who hit and killed the woman suffered only minor injuries.

Although it was discovered that the driver of the car that killed the woman had been obsessively texting and driving as later shown by cellphone records that he was texting and driving the whole time having a lovers quarrel by text message with over 250 texts in three and a half hours, he was still never held liable for any portion of the accident nor were any criminal charges filed against him.

Another interesting and important point in this case was that the car that had broken down was not fully pulled off the road and it was determined that that also contributed to the accident.  The Judge, therefore, placed the driver of the vehicle that was partially parked in the roadway on the verdict form so that the jury could apportion some fault to her for not being completely off the road way.  The Jury apportioned 1% of the fault to her.

The case is Hooker v. Brown, No. 12EV014753.

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How to Choose a Trucking and Tractor Trailer Accident and Injury Attorney in Georgia

Tractor-trailer-accident-300x300If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in any type of accident, then I am truly sorry.  I understand that choosing the right attorney for your case can be daunting task.  You want an attorney who understands what you are going through as well a lawyer who throughly understands the legal aspects of your case. 

In Trucking Accident Cases you need an attorney with experience as these are cases that require expertise and are not handled like your typical auto accident cases.  In order for you to receive the just compensation that you deserve in Georgia in a Trucking and Tractor Trailer Case you need an experienced Trucking Accident Lawyer on your side.

Choosing the right attorney for the job can be difficult and many people have no idea where to turn.  We can help.  We are experienced and successful in these types of cases, we are by your side every step of the way, and we have a proven track record in these types of cases.  We possess the following characteristics, and more, that you will want to seek in an attorney to represent in this type of accident and injury:

Experience

We have experience.  We have handled hundreds of these types of cases and have achieved successful results.  Part of this experience involves not only the litigation side of the case but also the negotiation side of the case since many, if not the majority of these cases, are successfully settled out of court.

Therefore, you need a skillful litigator who isn’t intimidated by the court system and can take your case to trial if that is what is warranted in your situation, and you also need an experienced negotiator who knows the value of these cases and can advise you when it may be time to accept a settlement out of court.

If your case is going to court, you want an attorney who is comfortable in the court room and is effective in presenting your case with the notion of doing nothing less than winning a fair and equitable verdict in your favor.  Our truck accident attorneys have a great deal of experience with accidental injury trucking claims, and since they specialize in commercial truck accidents they have the skills necessary to get you the maximum amount of compensation you may be entitled to under the circumstances of your case.

Specialty

As we have described in our website, accidents involving large commercial trucks are much more complex than car collisions.  When you have been injured in a truck accident, you need someone who intimately knows the various issues involved.  Our attorneys specialize in truck accidents cases and, therefore, know, among other things, where and how to look for evidence that will strengthen your case, and know which parties can be held liable.

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Detecting Abuse and Neglect in Georgia Nursing Homes

Nursing-Home-Abuse-Wheelchair-300x300

In Georgia, there are millions of elderly people living in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.  As our “baby boomers” age, this number will increase.  The National Center on Elder Abuse  projects that approximately 20 percent of the American population will be aged 65 or older by 2050. Some of this growing elder population will be able to stay in their homes.  Many, however, will have to spend their golden years in a Georgia nursing home or assisted living center.

With more elderly persons entering nursing homes, it is important that their families and friends are able to identify the signs of elder abuse and neglect so they can take action if it occurs. Federal regulations state that individuals living in nursing homes have, among other things, “the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical and mental abuse, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion,” among other rights.  Often and sadly, these Rights are ignored and violated with an estimated one in ten elders facing abuse or neglect in a long-term care facility or their homes

The first thing we must do is understand what abuse and neglect is, first and foremost.

The National Council on Elderly Abuse  defines abuse as, among other things; an intentional infliction of injury or harm; intimidation; involuntary confinement; deprivation of care or service; and punishment that results in pain, physical harm or mental anguish.

Neglect is defined as; a willful or unintentional failure to care for or provide necessary services; and failing to react to a potentially harmful or dangerous situation which results in anxiety, catastrophic injury, or death.

Abuse and neglect can take many forms. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, and it is not uncommon for an elderly person to be subjected to more than one form of abuse.

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The Georgia Court Rules that Drunken Driver’s Parents can Move Forward with a Claim for the Death of their son, but reminds us that the Power of the Trial Court to deny such claims is Alive and Well

photo for blog post april 2 2014In 2008, a young man was driving drunk when he hit an illegally parked tractor-trailer vehicle, setting the drunk driver’s vehicle into flames, and killing the drunk driver along with his passenger.  The parents of the drunk driver are seeking damages from the owner and operator of the illegally parked vehicle.

The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that the parents can move forward with the claim but caution that the trial Judge still retains the power to dismiss cases such as this based on the fact that the Plaintiff was drunk and, therefore, his negligence caused, or at the very least significantly contributed to, the accident.  The Court of Appeals further stated that, in this case, however, the issue of who was more at fault should be a question for the Jury to decide; was the drunk driver, or the owner and operator of the illegally parked vehicle, more at fault that ultimately caused the death of this young man and his passenger.

A lawsuit over the passenger’s death settled for an undisclosed amount.  The parents of the drunk driver, however, have pursued a claim against the owner of the tractor-trailer and the tractor-trailer’s insurance company claiming “but for” the vehicle being illegally parked, the fire would have never started and their son would not have died.

Cobb County State Court Judge Kathryn Tanksley initially granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment based on O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33 (g), which states in pertinent part that a tort plaintiff, “shall not be entitled to receive any damages if the plaintiff is 50 percent or more responsible for the injury or damages claimed.” Tanksley said it was clear that the drunk driver’s negligence was equal to or greater than that of the defendant and that reasonable minds couldn’t disagree over that conclusion.  The plaintiffs appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals and won before a unanimous panel.

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