Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Medical Examiner’s Office Identifies Elderly Woman Killed in House Fire

People are not safe even in their own homes due to the sudden occurrence of deadly fire accidents. In fact, statistics revealed that about 85% of all reported fires have happened in personal residences.

A woman who was identified by the Medical Examiner’s Office as Evelyn Blanch Williams, 89, recently died after her home in National City burned down the previous week.

The woman’s neighbors reported that they saw flames and smoke from her home located along Orrel Drive. Firefighters found her body in the house’s front room.

The autopsy revealed that a dog was also killed in the fire while another one was saved.

Authorities have not yet released their findings regarding the cause of the fire.

For people to avoid being involved in a residential fire accident, they should have a fire extinguisher inside the house, unplug all appliances that are not being used, and replace all frayed electrical cords and wires.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Accutane Ordered to Pay $25.6 Million in Damages

The popular anti-acne medication “Accutane” has been slapped with a $25.16 million judgment in a personal injury lawsuit filed by an Alabama man.

According to 38-year-old Andrew McCarrell, he started taking Accutane in his 20s and it led to his inflammatory bowel disorder and the eventual removal of his colon.

The compensatory damages were given last Tuesday after the case went to retrial when an appeals court reversed a prior $2.6 million judgment McCarrell won last 2007.

Hofman-La Roche actually stopped selling the drug in 2009 because it became quite costly to defend against multiple lawsuits that blame Accutate for suicidal behaviors and birth defects.

Accutane is now only available in the US under the program called IPLEDGE that requires those who will undergo treatment to sign documents that says that they are aware of its possible side effects and that they will be using birth control methods while under the program.

Those who have osteoporosis, heart disease, liver disease, asthma, mental illness are discouraged from the program.

Accutane may have the following side effects:

• Depression
• Numbness and weakness
• Blurred vision, nausea and headaches
• Seizures
• Severe stomach pains
• Severe diarrhea
• Flu like symptoms
• Joint stiffness, bone pain r fracture

For consumers, it would be best to consult your doctor about any medications before taking them.

If you were sold Accutane outside the IPLEDGE program, you should make a complaint to the Foods and Drugs Administration.

You can also consult a consumer rights attorney to know your legal options against the person or organization that sold you the medicine.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bicyclist Killed in Hit and Run Accident by Driver Using a Cellphone

A 40-year old bicyclist and father of five children was recently killed in a hit and run accident by a distracted driver.

The bicyclist, Ovidio Morales was reportedly struck by a silver or gray 1990s Ford passenger van near South Dwight Avenue and West Compton Boulevard. Witnesses claim that the driver ran a red light while talking on his cellphone.

When the driver allegedly struck Morales, he backed up, checked on the fallen bicyclist before speeding away from the scene. The accident was also caught on a surveillance video.

Compton firefighters tried to save Morales but he died from his car crash injuries.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2009, distracted driving resulted to nearly 6,000 fatalities and 515,000 injuries. One out of 20 motor vehicle crashes were linked to cell phone use.

Studies have also shown that distracted driving is dangerous and should not be taken likely, drivers who talk on cell phones are four times more likely to crash while drivers who text are 23 times more likely to crash.

But unfortunately, these distracted drivers are just as much as a danger to the public as they are to themselves. However, despite the presence of state laws that ban the use of cell phones while operating a vehicle, a lot of drivers continue to text or talk on the cellphone while driving.

Naturally, the result of blatant disregard of laws against texting and talking while driving has resulted to numerous crashes some of which ended in fatalities.

Had the hit and run driver who killed Morales followed the law, the father of 5 will likely still be alive today.

If the driver is found and arrested, aside from facing criminal charges, the family of the deceased may also file a case of wrongful death against him.

A wrongful death claim arises from damages incurred by the victim’s decedents after the victim is killed because of negligence or other acts or omissions committed by the defendant.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Elderly Bicyclist Killed in Accident

In Mission Viejo, Capistrano Beach resident Morlyn Lokken recently died from serious head injuries a couple of weeks after a bicycle accident.

Lokken, who was 78 years old, was out riding with a friend last January 28, 2010 near El Toro Road and Raintree Lane in Lake Forest when he hit some mud on the trail. It sent him over his bike’s handlebars and he landed on his head.

Bicyclist accident deaths account roughly for less 2 percent of all vehicle crash fatalities. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, majority of those killed in bicycle accidents suffered serious head injuries.

Last 2008, as many as 714 bicyclists were killed and according to the statistics, 91 percent of them were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident.

The figures depicted above underscore the fact that the proper use of head restraints and quality helmets can really make a difference in saving the rider’s life in case of an accident or a collision with another vehicle.

The use of helmets in fact, is estimated to reduce head injury risk by as much as 85 percent.

However, there are some instances, when riders are still very much at risk even if they wear a helmet. For one, elderly riders such as Lokken are more vulnerable to injuries as they do not have the constitution and health of younger riders.

Another factor which can cause bicycle death even if the rider is wearing a helmet is the use of substandard helmets. Helmets are made to cushion the impact of the crash against the person’s head but if it was made poorly or the qualities of the materials are weak, it could still result to injuries to the rider.

Likewise, wearing a helmet is not sufficient protection against traumatic injuries in other parts of the body during a crash - as a person may die from blood loss or even a broken neck; helmets could reduce the chances of suffering from serious head injuries during accidents.

Thus, while wearing a helmet can indeed save your life, riders must still be cautious. You should make sure that to buy helmets that meet U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and state safety standards – a DOT lettering on the back of the helmet means that it is approved and has complied with federal safety standards.

However, in case you are injured in a bike accident even after taking all possible precautions because of the negligence of another, consult with a personal injury lawyer to explore potential compensation against the liable party.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Man Killed in Oak Park Bicycle Accident Identified

The bicyclist killed yesterday in Oak Park has been identified by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The victim was identified as 38-year-old Juan Carlos Navarro.

According to reports from the San Diego Police, Navarro tried to pass on the right side of a dump truck in an intersection crosswalk in 54th Street.

He was struck by the dump truck and responding paramedics failed to revive him.

Navarro’s family can consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and also the city.

As the employer of the dump truck driver, the city can be held liable for his actions as well.

However, the family has to prove that the bicycle accident was not his fault but was caused by the negligence of the driver.

They should really consider getting the services of an expert car accident attorney for assistance.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two Passengers Injured in Trolley and US Postal Van Collision

In San Diego, two people were injured and had to be taken to the hospital after a U.S. Postal Service van crashed against a trolley.

The collision happened at Park Boulevard and G Street just before noon. Allegedly, traffic at G Street was stopped and the trolley had the green light when the mail van barreled right into it.

At least two passengers of the trolley were injured – a man in a wheelchair and a woman who was standing up inside the trolley when the crash occurred. The female driver of the van was reportedly uninjured.

There are many reasons why train/trolley accidents occur such as negligence on the part of the train operator/engineer/conductor, mechanical failure, derailment, lack of sufficient signals and guards, and collisions with pedestrians and other vehicles.

It is noticeable however, that most train collisions occur due to human factors. For example, the deadly train collision in Chatsworth happened when the engineer failed to stop at a signal because he was texting while on duty.

In this instance however, the trolley had the right of way at the time the collision occurred because it had the green light.

The US postal van on the other hand, did not have the right of way. It was the only vehicle that failed to stop long enough for the trolley to pass through. The driver was negligent when she failed to yield to the trolley had the green light is the proximate cause of the crash.

Under the law, a person’s negligence which causes injury to another rightfully gives rise to a personal injury claim. The trolley passengers, if they were suffered damages as a result of the accident may sue for compensation against the driver of the van and since trolleys are considered common carriers, also the operator of the trolley as negligence is often presumed on the part of a common when an accident occurs.

However, the liability as to injuries resulting from a trolley and van collision can be difficult to determine. It is advisable that victims seek the assistance of an expert personal injury lawyer who can effectively represent their claims.

Likewise, for personal injury claims in California, there is a statute of limitation of 2 years for filing a lawsuit so hiring the services of a personal injury lawyer should be a priority in case victims of train collision accidents want to recover damages.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

$16.5 Million Dollars Awarded to Patient Who Became Paraplegic

In Riverside, California, the jury has awarded $16.5 million in damages in a medical malpractice suit due to negligence after a man was left a paraplegic in an off-road accident in November 2003.

The jury found Palm Springs neurosurgeon, Christopher Pham negligent in his treatment of Trent Hughes who was left unattended and unseen until the next day and was only operated on two days later even though he had a fractured spine.

Hughes and his wife sued the hospital and Pham for past and future lost earnings, medical costs and damages for pain and suffering. Two years ago, the spouses settled with the hospital for an undisclosed amount.

Medical malpractice lawsuits, are one of the most complex civil lawsuits to litigate as it can be very hard to prove as it involves the technical aspect of your treatment and that doctors and hospitals will likely fight tooth and nail against the claim.

However, there are three essential elements in any medical malpractice claim which can make or break your case and all these must be present so your claim will prosper:

• There must be significant injury incurred by the patient

• The doctor or hospital staff performed in a way that was not up to the standard of care expected from such a medical professional, or that there was negligence

• The lack of care or medical mistake directly caused the injury suffered by the patient

Now depending on how severe the injury is, medical malpractice claims involve the following damages:

• Medical Expenses both present and future
• Cost of Permanent Medical Care
• Loss of wages
• Future Lost Earnings
• Pain and Suffering
• Punitive Damages

Take note that as previously mentioned, medical malpractice is difficult to litigate so getting a lawyer who can effectively prepare and present your case is the key to success. Unlike car accidents where the effect can speak for itself, medical malpractice claims often require the opinion of experts in the field and lawyers who specialize in medical malpractice are better equipped to prosecute your claim.