The End of Lawyer Complications

By on 6-23-2015 in Personal Injury

I’ve never had a need for a lawyer, but I’ve always been fascinated by the profession. I think fascinated is the right word, since I’ve done more than just watch shows and movies about lawyers, I’ve done a decent bit of research into the actual profession itself. Now, I don’t want to claim that makes me a legal scholar. In fact, I’ve done very little research into the legal side of things. I find the law boring and complicated. (This is probably why I’ve made no effort, despite my fascination, to become a lawyer).

I find lawyers, though, very interesting. It’s such an important career in our society, and yet it’s one that we tend to only occasionally give much credit to. Think about this: could we have a financial system at all without lawyers? I don’t think so. And that doesn’t even begin to consider how important lawyers are to the legal system itself. Most people in Congress are also lawyers. Lawyers are the lynchpin of our whole society.

So, they’re fascinating, and I’m fascinated. Recently, I discovered an interesting fact about lawyers I want to share: you can fire them quite easily. I think most people assumed you could fire your lawyer, but I at least had always thought it would be a complicated, expensive process.

That’s not the case, at least when it comes to personal injury law. According to Hach & Rose, LLP, firing your lawyer is almost as simple as firing…anyone, really. They do recommend you have another lawyer already prepared to take over for you so there’s no downtime in your case, but otherwise, you can just get rid of your lawyer.

In fact, switching lawyers is free when it comes to personal injury cases. Because your lawyer only gets paid at the end of your case out of your settlement, you don’t owe anything more to anyone for making a switch.

Further, changing lawyers is fairly painless when it comes to your case as well. It won’t delay your case if you do it right (get a replacement first), and it has been shown to lead, at least sometimes, to better outcomes.

Why should you switch your lawyer? I guess you could do it just to be arbitrary, but it sounds like from that article I linked to that some lawyers can be stubborn on strategy or else pretty bad communicators. I suppose it must be fairly common for people to get frustrated by overworked lawyers that aren’t making a priority out of getting a good result for their case.

Anyway, I’d always wondered what happens when you get a lawyer who just isn’t up to the quality you expect. Obviously, someone with a lot of money could get rid of a lawyer, but I didn’t know just about anyone could pull it off. It’s nice to know the legal system—so famously complicated when it comes to just about anything—is nice and straightforward on that point at least.

My Airline Story

By on 6-23-2015 in Personal Injury

I’ve got a story, and it’s just too good not to share, even if it is a bit painful to recount (literally! as you’ll see).

The short version: I got bit by a dog, but not where you’d expect (in a yard or something), but on a plane, and all because someone else got hit by a train.

Okay, long version. I was flying to Florida for a bit of a vacation. I only had four days off, but I’ve worked hard recently, and I have a little extra money, and I decided that for once, I wasn’t going to spend it all on Christmas presents, I was going to give myself a present and have a rest.

So, off I go to Florida. Now, on the flight, there was a cute little dog. The owner boarded and it turned out the dog was sitting next to me. Great, I love dogs. The owner was nice, I asked if I could pet the dog, The nice owner said the dog was nice. Great, hi doggy doggy doggy, *bite*.

I don’t want to exaggerate and say there was blood everywhere, but…there was blood everywhere. Not flying at the windows like a horror movie everywhere, but I soaked through a few napkins.

The flight attendants removed me and the owner and the dog from the flight. There was a doctor on staff at the airport who looked at my hand and said I wouldn’t need stitches.

The lady who was the owner was incredibly apologetic. Oh, Rex (it wasn’t Rex, but I don’t remember the dog’s name), Rex never bites anyone. He’s never done it before. It’s only because there’s so much stress going on.

She then told me the reason Rex was flying for the first time was that down in Florida her brother had just been hit by a train. Her brother, apparently, was stopped at a crossroads waiting for a train to come, when someone who wasn’t looking rear-ended him and pushed the front of his car on the tracks just as the train came.

He luckily was okay, but he has some broken bones, he’s been in the hospital, and his nice sister was bringing his dog (apparently Rex was his before he moved) down to visit to cheer him up.

Well, the story was so nice, it was hard to stay mad, even if my hand was mutilated. I was advised, I don’t remember by whom, that I did have the right to press charges or to sue for personal injury or something, but I didn’t want anything to do with that.

Thankfully, the airline was quite helpful as well. They had room on a later flight for me, the owner, and Rex, which we all gratefully accepted. Although I did make a point of asking to sit as far from Rex as possible.

Your Car May Be Recalling

By on 6-23-2015 in Personal Injury

Soon, almost 2 million VW vehicles in China will be recalled due to wrongly installed fuel pumps. The fuel pumps, which are linked to the electronic components of the car, would send out signals that could cause the engine of the car to stall while driving. Several makes of cars are affected: the Magaton, CC, and Passat vehicles from throughout the past ten years will need to be brought back in for repair. VW discovered the defects last year after Chinese investigators began taking a closer look at their vehicles.

This isn’t the first recall started by VW this year. In March, investigators discovered a problem with coolant pump capable of setting engines on fire in certain Audi models. The company recalled over half a million cars due to the error. And in May, another half a million cars had to be brought back in because of headlight problems.

These aren’t the recent major recalls. In fact, it seems that car companies discovering unnoticed flaws in their companies is a near monthly experience. Just a few weeks ago, Ram had to recall 490,000 trucks because of a fire risk. Chrysler had to put out a notice because of a seatbelt issue they discovered in 60,000 cars that would cause the belts to become spontaneously unlatched. And Mazda also had to bring back 60,000 cars that had defective power steering. And a study by the Center for Auto Safety found that a quarter of the cars sold by used car dealer Carmax had a notice out for a safety recall.

Many recalls are not for significant problems. None of the defects in the previous recalls have to lead to serious accidents. Car companies are generally very fastidious about safety inspections- their reputation depends on it! But still, accidents caused by defective vehicles are still common enough for lawyers like the Chicago personal injury attorneys Karlin, Fleisher, & Falkenberg to offer a section on their website detailing it.

So what can you do to make sure your car is safe? Unless they’re because of very serious accidents or defects, it’s unlikely that news of a car recall will be widely spread (and news of those will only spread after it’s too late and an accident has already occurred). Car manufacturers will, of course, try to get in touch with the owners of the recalled models, but with how often cars are bought and sold used, it may be hard for them to track down. There are a few things you can if you’re worried about a car defect. First, take it to a mechanic to see if they can find anything wrong. Second, you can search the internet for your vehicle make/model/year to see if any news of a recall pops up. And finally, there are a multitude of websites online that let you search by VIN to see if the manufacturer is recalling your car. Good luck and stay safe on the road!

Can you really trust your doctor?

By on 6-23-2015 in Personal Injury

How do we handle medical malpractice? The trajectory of modern medicine is complicated. Communities trust and spend money on doctors to take care of us and give us advice on how to take better care of our health. However, what do we do when the doctor is wrong? Who do we blame? A family in Scranton, Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a mother of two who died five years ago of an allegedly misdiagnosed heart problem. The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against Geisinger Community Medical Center and two physicians for a requested $3.5 million in compensation for her death.

The settlement terms were approved recently in a Lackawanna County Court hearing, presided over by Judge James Gibbons. The administrator of the deceased individual’s estate, Thomas Coleman (on behalf of Kristine Coleman) filed the lawsuit against GCMC and the doctors, Chua Fe Huang and Paul  Dubiel in January of 2014. The lawsuit alleged that the doctors misdiagnosed his wife’s heart condition, which turned out to be fatal. Kristine Coleman died on February 21, 2012.

According to the reported story in The Times-Tribune, Kristine Coleman, a dietary technician at Allied Services, was admitted to the medical facility on February 6th, which was only a couple of weeks before her death at age 41.  The patient was complaining of severe pain in her left shoulder, which was radiating down her arm. For many in the medical profession, severe shoulder pain with these symptoms is often a strong signal of heart problems. GCMC did order a cardiac evaluation and catheterization to check for blocked arteries, but Dr. Huang canceled the testing and failed to reschedule it. Her family has argued that this test would have been able to identify the cardiac issues that the patient was suffering from, and that she would most likely not have died if this test had been performed as ordered. 

Kristine was again admitted to the hospital on the night of February 20th, again complaining of pain in her left shoulder and arm, and this time with the added symptom of shortness of breath. The ER physician on duty at the time, Dr. Dubiel, did not promptly identify the signs of a heart attack and misdiagnosed her illness as pneumonia. The patient passed away within six hours after going into full cardiac arrest, which was confirmed during autopsy as an undiagnosed heart attack that lasted for days.

According to the settlement’s court documents, insurers for the practice and the doctors named in the suit will pay 2 million dollars. The remaining 1.5 million dollars of the wrongful death settlement will be paid from the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (MCARE) set up by the state to help doctors who have been accused of malpractice pay the claims against them.

Although the settlement will provide some level of compensation for the deceased individual’s family, it will not replace the loss of companionship and parental care that they had suffered as a result of the doctors’ failure to correctly diagnose her condition before it was too late.

 

Controlling Dust: A Key Step in Improving Air Quality in Manufacturing Facilities

By on 6-23-2015 in Personal Injury

Implementing a comprehensive dust or weld fume collection system has become a major responsibility and a must for manufacturers to enable them to keep up with changing air quality regulations set, specially, by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  One example of a recently changed air quality regulation is on the collection of silica dust as scientific evidence has shown that the previous limits on silica dust were not keeping workers safe. The changes made, according to OSHA, may just be able to prevent 600 deaths and 900 new cases of silicosis each year.

One key step in improving air quality in manufacturing facilities is controlling dust. Good air quality leads to increased worker productivity and other benefits, including less absenteeism and lowered workers’ compensation claims (which translates to lower insurance premiums manufacturers will need to pay).

Aside from safeguarding the health of employees, a recent study on the impact of indoor air pollution on worker productivity has shown a 4.2% improvement in productivity when air pollution was reduced by 10 ppb (parts per billion); on the other hand, poor indoor air quality has consistently resulted to  six added lost workdays per year for every ten employees.

Poor air quality due to dust and weld fumes causes irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, and respiratory ailments (some of its effects are much more serious and deadly, like cancer). No worker should have to suffer or be rendered incapable of doing his or her job simply due to a manufacturer’s failure to comply with OSHA’s clean air mandates in the workplace. Thus, in order not to be caught off-guard and in violation of OSHA mandates, which can most likely result to fines, lawsuits and reputational harm, many manufacturers have made the wise decision of investing in a comprehensive dust or weld fume collection system that will remove harmful contaminants from the air.

One type of a comprehensive dust or weld fume collection system that majority of manufacturers have invested into is the Fusion Series system from RoboVent. With powerful blowers and cutting-edge filter designs, this dust collection system has helped in assuring and maintaining clean air in manufacturing facilities, from the automotive industry to heavy manufacturing.