Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog
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In the state of Massachusetts, there is a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, except in special circumstances or when there has been a substantial and permanent loss of a bodily function as a result of medical negligence.

Many states have similar caps in place limiting he ability of medical negligence victims to recover full compensation, even though a jury may find actual damages were far in excess of that limit. medical stethoscope.jpg

A Boston malpractice lawyer knows damage caps hurt patients. Recent reports indicate these rules limiting recovery in malpractice cases have a much wider negative impact than simply preventing victims from full recovery. Malpractice damage caps can actually make the entire healthcare system worse for patients.
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More than 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are suffered annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most of these TBIs happen because of falls, car accidents or acts of violence. Most go unnoticed, except by the victim who is affected and the family members of the person whose life has been changed forever. brain copy.jpg

Recently, however, the issue of traumatic brain injury has been making headlines because the victim in one particular accident was a famous comedian.

When Tracy Morgan was involved in a near-fatal motor vehicle collision with a Wal-Mart truck, the comedian’s plight caught the attention of the press and the public. Now, Bloomberg is one of many news outfits publishing articles discussing how the brain injuries he suffered will impact the rest of his life.
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Family members who must place relatives in nursing homes have plenty of legitimate reasons to be concerned about whether their parents or loved ones are getting appropriate care.

Recently, the New York Times wrote about one woman who wanted to use a video camera in her mother’s room when she suspected abuse. The bylaws of the nursing home prohibited this, claiming they violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). However, this may not be entirely true. elderly.jpg

Preventing nursing home abuse is an important issue, and it’s important patients and family members understand their legal rights. A Boston nursing home abuse lawyer should be consulted for assistance when nursing home abuse is suspected. Families visiting relatives and loved ones over the winter holidays should also watch for signs of potential abuse so they can take appropriate action.
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RGR, LLC v. Settle, a case from the Supreme Court of Virginia, involved a plaintiff who was killed while driving a dump truck. Plaintiff drove his dump truck across train tracks at a private railroad crossing, which contained no bells, warning signals, or flashing lights. While on the tracks, he was hit by a freight train and killed.

fall-railroad-1433372-2-m.jpgNear the railroad tracks, defendant operated a business that offloaded lumber from train cars and then loaded the wood onto tractor-trailers. Defendant had stacked lumber approximately seven feet inside railroad operator’s 30-foot right-of-way alongside the tracks. After passing the large stacks of lumber, plaintiff entered the tracks, and the train hit the front of his truck. At the time of the accident, plaintiff was delivering a load of gravel for a public construction project.

Plaintiff’s surviving spouse filed a wrongful death action in her late husband’s name, alleging defendant was negligent in stacking lumber near railroad tracks, thus breaching the duty of care owed to plaintiff and causing his death.
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Colombo v. BRP US, Inc., an appeal from the California Court of Appeal, involved plaintiffs who went jet skiing. The group consisted of two sisters who went to help a third sister move into a new apartment. The sister who was moving had a boyfriend whose roommate operated personal watercraft for a local company.

jetski-1087258-m.jpgBoyfriend wanted to reward the two sisters for helping his girlfriend move and arranged to meet them at a store and then take them to ride the personal watercraft (PWCs). He loaded two PWCs onto a trailer, met them at the store, and took them to the bay to ride. Both sisters wore two-piece bathing suits. Nobody in the group was wearing a wetsuit.

After putting on a life vest, plaintiffs waded into the water and met defendant. Both plaintiffs got on the back of PWC with defendant sitting in the operator’s seat. He did not give them any instructions. Plaintiff testified that she had no intention of driving the PWC herself and did not have any idea how PWCs worked and how fast water exited the jet-thrust nozzle underneath. She also did not see any labels under the handlebars or on the console that warned of severe injury that could occur as a result of falling into the water near the nozzles.
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Braese, Jr. v. Stinker Stores, Inc., an appeal from the Supreme Court of Idaho, involved a rather unique set of facts. A customer entered the convenience store at a gas station. Store manager permitted customers to bring their dogs into the store because she knew that other area businesses allowed this, and she did not want to be disliked by area dog owners.

royal-dog-1446188-2-m.jpgOne particular day, a customer had his dog on a leash while standing at the counter. However, customer was not holding the leash while at the counter. The dog raised up her paws and put them on the counter. Manager gave the dog a treat. The entire transaction took around two minutes and during that time the dog put her paws on the counter six more times and, on the last time, cashier gave her another treat.

While customer was putting his change in his pocket, plaintiff walked into the store. Customer was facing cashier. Plaintiff put his hand in his pocket to get cash to pay for a lottery ticket. The dog apparently though another treat was involved and jumped up, hitting plaintiff in the chest with her front paws.
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Sometimes a loved one or family member reaches a point where they can no longer receive sufficient care at home. While it is often a difficult decision, arranging for a loved one to enter into a managed care facility or nursing home is often most loving choice we can make. We trust the facility and staffers will better care of our family member than we could at home.

broken-leg-xrayseries-1-978477-m.jpgIn Mattox v. Life Care Centers of America, an elderly woman was receiving care from a nursing home owned by defendant. She was 86-years-old. During her stay, she suffered a fall and fractured her femur. She was taken to the emergency room, where doctors gave her pain medication. She then suffered nausea, vomiting and aspiration. She was not stable enough to have surgery to repair her broken leg, was placed in “comfort care,” and died just after midnight.

Plaintiff’s son filed a wrongful death lawsuit against defendant, alleging they were aware she had a history of falling and did not take proper care to prevent her from falling and breaking her leg. Defendant filed for summary judgment on grounds plaintiff failed to name an expert who would testify that defendant didn’t adhere to the required standard of care with respect to plaintiff’s death, and further had not introduced any evidence to prove the fall was the proximate cause of plaintiff’s death.
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When we send our children to school, we assume that school officials will take proper precautions to make sure our kids are safe. In Lyons v. Richmond Cmty. Sch. Corp, a case from the Indiana Supreme Court, plaintiff was the parent of a 17-year-old high school student with Down syndrome who was considered severely disabled. She had trouble eating and failed to chew her food or frequently took too many bites before attempting to swallow.

1334532_ambulance.jpgA contractor hired by the state worked with her school to develop a safety plan for the girl, which included a requirement that staff monitor her closely at every meal or snack. She was never to be left alone while eating. Specifically, the plan said the girl tended to shove food into her mouth and will choke if not carefully supervised. She required constant monitoring and verbal prompts to slow down. Additionally, the school had an established procedure that required staff to cut up all the girl’s food.
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Slip-and-accidents can result in serious personal injury to plaintiffs. Zuppardi v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., an appeal heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, involved a plaintiff who went to a big box retail store (“defendant”) along with her brother and son.

caution-wet-floor-sign-1-1006453-m.jpgPlaintiff took a shopping cart from the front of store and pushed it down a highly-trafficked walkway known in the industry as an “action alley.” Plaintiff was walking at normal speed and did not see any other customers around her when she slipped and fell in a puddle of what she believes to be water. She landed on a concrete floor. She believed the puddle of liquid was water, because it was colorless odorless.

Plaintiff testified it was about two feet across and blended in with the floor very well. According to court records, there were no warning cones or danger signs or footprints or shopping cart tracks around the puddle, and she did not know how it got there.
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Entergy Mississippi, Inc. v. Acey, a case from the Supreme Court of Mississippi, involved a child who was electrocuted while playing on a farm.

power-1418237-m.jpgEmployee was operating a cotton picker and parked it under an allegedly sagging power line. The child climbed onto the parked cotton picker, touched the power line and was electrocuted.

During his deposition, employee testified that he and his sons were unaware that farm owners’ daughter and her friend, the electrocuted child, were playing nearby. One of employee’s sons saw a flash, and they immediately ran to the area where the flash originated and found plaintiff on top of the cotton picker. Employee held the child until paramedics arrived.
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