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In a case from the Arkansas Supreme Court, the plaintiff filed several causes of action in civil court against the defendants for claims related to injuries that occurred in the scope of his employment.  These claims were fairly typical employment-based personal injury claims, such as negligent supervision and negligent retention of a store manager.

brainEssentially, unless there was intentional conduct, such as assault or a kidnapping (false imprisonment), the vast majority of claims filed in a civil lawsuit are filed under a theory of negligence. There are many different types of negligence, but the main different is what type of negligent (careless) conduct the defendant is alleged to have engaged in that resulted in a serious personal injury to one or more plaintiffs. Continue reading

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A jury in Chicago awarded $5.4 million to a man who suffered serious back and groin injuries after he slipped and fell on a slick of diesel oil on the ground at a rail yard.

The original verdict was for $9 million, but was lowered by a percentage based on plaintiff’s pdirt oilurported contributory negligence that factored into the fall’s causation.

Plaintiff sued the railroad company for allegedly failing to provide him with the appropriate tools and a safe workplace while he was repairing a leak on site as an independent contractor back in April 2011. The case highlights the fact that although work-related injuries are often compensable only via workers’ compensation benefits, there are sometimes legal avenues to pursue claims against third-parties, such as property owners or general contractors. Continue reading

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Victims of violent assaults may find themselves reeling, both physically and emotionally, struggling to overcome the trauma. While the criminal justice system may take action to punish the offender, that doesn’t necessarily help the victim and the expenses they have incurred – the medical bills, the lost wages from time off work, the cost of therapy and other expenses. stab

In some situations, it can be worthwhile to pursue legal action in civil court. Such action is sometimes taken against the actual attacker (although insurance does not cover intentional acts, so collecting on damages against defendants who aren’t independently wealthy can be tough). More commonly, though, action is taken against third parties. Third parties can be liable for damages to a crime victim if the defendant breached some duty of care owed to plaintiff. For example, property owners may be liable for failing to protect residents and/or guests from conditions that might invite a criminal assault.

In a recent case before the New York Court of Appeals, the question was asked whether a mental health facility could be liable for injuries sustained in a criminal attack carried out by an adult male patient who had recently been discharged. Plaintiff alleged the facility was negligent in discharging the man, and if it had held him longer, the attack could have been avoided.  Continue reading

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Injuries arising from sports-related activities are generally compensable only under certain circumstances. The reason is because sports are often inherently considered risky, and athletes and participants assume some level of that risk when they agree to engage.karate

Generally, if a sports-related injury involves some type of recklessness or intention to hurt someone, then it can be compensable. Youth sport injuries in particular are where most liability cases arise because they are unique with regard to the age and experience of the persons involved in the sports. Even then, if injuries occurred in the normal course of the sport, collecting damages is going to be tough. However, if injuries occur because the school or league allowed conduct that was outside the scope of the game rules (i.e., allowing use of excessive force, excessive exercise in the heat, etc.), then there could be liability. There could also be damages sought if the coaches or other staffers failed to appropriately respond to a medical emergency.

In a recent sports injury lawsuit out of Indiana, the state supreme court justices ruled that a woman seriously injured by a classmate with a jump-kick in a karate course won’t be allowed to continue with her claim for damages. The issue was she could not prove the defendant acted with recklessness or unreasonableness in the course of his participation such that would warrant a finding of negligence.  Continue reading

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In Massachusetts medical malpractice law, the “loss of chance” doctrine permits recovery of damages for the destruction or reduction of the prospect of achieving a more fadoctorsvorable outcome.

Plaintiffs are the ones who bear the burden in these cases of showing that the physician or other medical professional:

  • Deviated from the accepted standard of care;
  • Deviation proximately caused the injury (i.e., the loss was a foreseeable consequence of negligence and the negligence was a but-for cause of the loss of harm).

Causation of injuries in medical malpractice lawsuits is always proven through expert witness testimony. The loss of chance doctrine is usually applied to cases wherein plaintiff had a 50 percent or less chance of survival or some better outcome prior to the alleged negligence of the doctor. In cases where a plaintiff had a 50 percent or greater chance of survival/ better outcome prior to the alleged wrongful act, courts will usually apply the “more likely than not” standard. That requires plaintiff to prove it is “more likely than not” he or she would have had a better outcome were it not for defendant’s actions. The reason is under traditional concepts of causation, a plaintiff with less than 50 percent chance of a positive outcome wouldn’t have grounds for a claim. The loss of chance doctrine gives them a platform. Continue reading

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In Boston construction accidents, there are often a number of various routes of recovery victims may pursue. First and foremost, there is workers’ compensation, which are benefits obtained by one’s own employer. However, these benefits are generally limited to medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. Exclusivity rules written into workers’ compensation law prevent an employee from suing an employer for more than that, and co-workers are generally protected by this too. But beyond that, there may be opportunity to pursue third-party liability action. construction workers

Third party liability lawsuits are especially prevalent in construction accident cases for two reasons:

  • The personal injuries are often quite severe, so the stakes are high.
  • There are numerous companies and individuals that have a hand in a construction project at any given time.

Liability for worker injuries depends on a myriad of factors, including whether the company in question owed some duty of care to the plaintiff.  Continue reading

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The manufacturer of a surgical device had a duty to warn the purchasers – not just the doctors – of its potential dangers. surgical xray

That’s according to a ruling in a recent case out of Washington state, where justices sided with plaintiff that medical device manufacturers have a duty to warn hospitals as well as physicians because doctors aren’t the ones actually buying the devices.

Although the ruling doesn’t have a direct impact on case law here in Massachusetts, it’s important to highlight because state high courts will often take cues from their sister courts when weighing important similar issues, especially those of first impression. Additionally, the case involves a particular kind of medical device that is widely used nationally, including here in the Commonwealth.  Continue reading

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Gaining a better understanding of pre-term infant brain injury can help reduce future incidents and improve outcomes for preemies. That’s why researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and NFANT Labs (an Atlanta-based company) are teaming up. The trio announced they would be collaborating to delve into the question of how neonatal sucking patterns could be an indication of brain development. If abnormal feeding patterns are proven to be an early indicator of an underlying brain injury, then doctors, nurses and other caregivers could take note – and quicker action to address it, ultimately improving outcomes.premature baby

Detecting a newborn brain injury early on is difficult. The current brain injury technology we have developed isn’t sensitive enough to pick up potential issues for babies that young. Even equipment that could work tends to be far too expensive for practical use on a regular basis. Prior research has established some type of connection between the way a baby sucks early on and later neurodevelopmental outcomes. A better understanding of this could help doctors detect brain abnormalities faster, which can mean initiating a number of early interventions.

Every year, some 500,000 infants in the U.S. are born premature. Of those, 60,000 babies are born weighing less than 3.3 pounds. Unlike in decades past, most of these babies will survive. However, preventing brain damage in these infants is often a challenge. So while these children are living, the rates of developmental disabilities and cerebral palsy stemming from brain injury are on the rise. Continue reading

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In a recent opinion from the California Court of Appeal, student was injured during a high school football game.  During the game, he suffered a severe impact and began complaining that he was in serious pain.

footballAt that point, his coach shined a flashlight in his eyes, and it made him wince in pain.  At every football game, there is an ambulance crew on standby at the event. The coached alerted paramedics, and they came over and examined the injured student. They also saw he was unsteady while walking.  It took the crew minutes to get to him. Continue reading

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In a case from the Washington State Supreme Court, plaintiff went to his doctor on September 1, 2011 because he had a painful lesion located on the bottom of his foot.  The doctor with which he made an appointment was his primary care provider (PCP).doctor

Once his PCP saw the wound on his foot, which was the result of stepping on a sharp object, he referred the plaintiff to a podiatrist. The podiatrist saw the plaintiff that same day and diagnosed him with what he called a pyogenic granuloma.  This is a benign (non cancerous) lesion.  The podiatrist said he could either remove it with surgery or treat it with cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen, as they often do when trying to remove warts from patients. Continue reading