Signs that It’s Time to Swap Lawyers

By on 12-11-2017 in Substituting Your Attorney

When you’ve already entered into the legal process with a lawyer, it can feel like an incredible challenge just to consider swapping lawyers, but sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to do.

Lawyers, like all professionals and all people, can be unreliable, inefficient, overworked, or simply disinterested. If you aren’t in the legal profession, you can’t blame yourself if you choose an unsatisfactory lawyer. Many lawyers present a glossy, professional front to hide their inadequacies in the legal sphere.

If you think you might have made a mistake during the hiring process, check your lawyer’s behavior against these potential signs.

  1. Your lawyer isn’t returning your phone calls

Your lawyer is probably busy, so maybe you can’t get them on the phone at a moment’s notice, but they really should be returning your calls within a day or two. If they can’t get back to you by then, your lawyer is either seriously overworked or seriously disinterested in you and your case.

  1. Your lawyer is forgetting your case details

Is there a pause when you walk into the office where your lawyer tries to remember your name? Hopefully, it isn’t that bad, but your lawyer may show signs of not having the case completely in hand. They may forget details of your case or forget about pieces of evidence you’ve provided. They may mix up details with other cases. None of this is good for you, and it suggests your lawyer hasn’t given enough attention to your individual situation.

  1. Your lawyer is missing deadlines

You may hear about these deadlines through your lawyer or, if it gets really bad, from a court. Lawsuits, like everything in life, follow a schedule and have deadlines. If your lawyer is missing them or continually asking for extensions so he or she doesn’t miss them, they have some clear organizational problems. Such problems don’t bode well for your case prospects.

  1. Your lawyer is acting flustered by your questions

If you are seeing any of these signs, you should go and ask your lawyer to explain him or herself. Hopefully, your lawyer has a good answer, but there are pretty decent odds that they won’t. They may, in fact, be flustered or else clearly bluffing and putting you off. Don’t allow them to fall back on legal terms or complicated sounding excuses. If they are trying to talk circles around you, try to listen to what they are actually saying underneath the terminology. Are they just saying they’re busy?

These are just a few possible signs your lawyer isn’t committed to your case and you should consider getting a new one. If you don’t see behavior that matches this list, in general, just watch out for any unprofessional behavior. Try to demystify the profession. If your lawyer’s behavior would be unprofessional in any business context, it’s probably unprofessional in law as well.

Don’t listen to his or her excuses. Hire an attorney that can get the job done properly.

The Serious Side of Food Poisoning

By on 11-01-2017 in Product Liability

We’ve all had a case or two of food poisoning. It’s never fun, and many have unpleasant stories of nights spent over the toilet or shivering under the covers.

These stories have a certain essence of amusement after the fact. They are, after all, the stories of the minor battles of life in which dignity is lost but recovery is always assured.

It is that latter point that should be addressed. Yes, food poisoning is usually minor and only requires a short period of unpleasantness before it can become an amusing story, but that is not always the case.

There are plenty of cases in which food poisoning had more serious effects. The most serious risk of food poisoning is dehydration, which can be deadly if serious enough. For those who cannot keep liquids down, it’s important to go to a doctor. An IV may be necessary. There are also potential risks, however.

These risks rise for certain people in the population. Older adults likely have slightly weaker immune systems, and so may risk more serious complications. The same is true for infants and for people with chronic diseases. A final risk is for pregnant women. Food poisoning reactions can be more severe when pregnant, and the unborn child can also be at risk depending on the type of food poisoning.

With so many potential issues, it’s worth reminding everyone how best to avoid food poisoning in the first place. At home, wash your hands carefully and make sure to wash all utensils and food surfaces. Don’t eat raw food and make sure all food is thoroughly cooked. Don’t place uncooked food near already prepared food. Refrigerate foods shortly after finishing your meal. And, especially, always throw out food if there’s any doubt.

When eating out, there’s less that can be done, other than washing hands and sending back food there is any doubt about. However, if you do contact food poisoning, and you are certain of the location where it occurred, be sure to inform the restaurant promptly. If the food poisoning is severe, or if it has happened more than once at that location, it may be worthwhile to notify the FDA.

Finally, if the food poisoning came from prepackaged food, notify the company responsible, and constant a product liability lawyer to make sure steps are taken.

Being proactive in preventing further food poisoning is not just a good deed or a waste of time, as seen from the evidence above, it can save lives.

Food poisoning may most often lead to a day of discomfort with a story at the end, but that is not always the case. It is important not to assume the next bout will be the same as the last, or that others will get over their experience as quickly as you do. We all owe each other this level of vigilance. It is especially important for those, such as the elderly or the unborn, who may not be able to protect themselves adequately.

Despite What Stock Brokers Say, Diversify Your Portfolio

By on 9-10-2017 in Misconduct

The effects of the retirement crisis in the United States are being felt by more than just those approaching retirement age. Because older citizens are holding on to their jobs for as long as they can to ensure that they’ll have enough money to live comfortably once they retire, younger Americans are not able to move up into those positions and maintain lower ones, and this cycle continues down the line so that it is more difficult now for young adults to find suitable employment after college. One of the biggest reasons older Americans are not financially prepared for retirement is poor diversification.

According to a press release on PR Newswire from the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council, only 9% of Americans are focused on having a diversified portfolio, and 22% of Americans are not familiar at all with common retirement investments that could help them create a diverse portfolio, like certificates of deposits, mutual funds, and fixed annuities, all generally considered low-risk investments appropriate for a retirement fund. Further, about 20% of Americans think that simply contributing regularly to a 401(k) will ensure they receive regular payments during retirement, but 401(k)s are still subject to market forces, even if to a lesser degree than the stock market. The IALC recommends putting money into fixed indexed annuities because it is the only way to guarantee payments throughout retirement, even during a major market crash. These annuities always guarantee a minimum interest amount, but may gain more if the market is doing well, and they will always guarantee that none of the principal is lost.

Of course, this press release was put out by a group composed of life insurance companies that are the ones that benefit from handing out these annuities, so there is bound to be inherent bias even if the IALC claims they exist solely to put out educational materials for consumers, industry professionals, and the media. These annuities are very attractive since the financial crisis of 2008 that destroyed the finances of so many Americans is still a fresh wound, but the goal is diversification. For younger Americans, a more aggressive or slightly riskier plan of investment in the stock market may be a better idea, since over the course of decades the market is likely to experience overall growth. Even here you can diversify further, and if brokers or financial advisors talk you out of diversifying and you lose money because of it, they can be sued by stock broker misconduct lawyers for neglect.

Even with this protection in place, neglect can be difficult to prove in such a volatile market, so being as knowledgeable as possible about all of your options can only help to make sure you’re making the right decisions. It is never too early or too late to better your financial position through diversification, whether that is with a safe option like a fixed annuity offered by a life insurance company, or something a little more risky.

What We Can Learn from the Johnson & Johnson Case

By on 9-01-2017 in Personal Injury

Those who buy products should always be able to have a free conversation with the companies from whom they buy. If we know about the product, we can make informed decisions. Johnson & Johnson is one of those companies who should be having better conversations with their consumers. They recently lost yet another lawsuit because their talcum-based products have a link to ovarian cancer. It should be common practice that a company change their goods and/or at least release a warning, especially if they face lawsuits over and over again.

According to an article on Fortune.com, the massive company will be forced to pay fines of $417 million after a woman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer that she claimed was caused by the corporate giant’s baby powder. Clearly, the Los Angeles Superior Court believed Eva Echeverria’s story and decided in her favor. To date, this has been one of the largest lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for improperly labeling their products and not warning consumers. Echeverria was represented by Mark Robinson, who said he as “grateful for the jury’s verdict on this matter and that Eva Echeverria was able to have her day in court.” The $417 million would be divided into two parts: $70 million would be compensatory, and $347 million would be punitive. This total number of damages set back Johnson & Johnson, who had already lost over $300 million in the 4,800 other claims made for similar issues. Despite these verdicts, Johnson & Johnson continue to defend their products, believing that their company scientists were truthful and unbiased when testing the safety of their products. However, after a lifetime of using their products, Echeverria firmly believes her cancer can be linked to Johnson & Johnson. Her attorney argues that the company is consciously vindictive, as they actively encourage women to use their products despite the link to ovarian cancer specifically. Johnson & Johnson have lost many verdicts, but this has been the largest, their previous $110 million fine falling second. 

Missouri residents have faced a potential block to filing against the pharmaceutical company due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limited where personal injury lawsuits could be filed. This case stated that courts could not take on cases if the injuries were caused by companies that did not reside in their state of municipal power. The St. Louis judge that originally had the case declared a mistrial but did allow plaintiffs the argument that the company was based in Missouri partly, due to a bottler the company used in the state.

Johnson & Johnson needs to be held accountable and be forced to recognize that their products are causing harm among a targeted community since so much of Johnson & Johnson’s consumer base is comprised of women who are directly threatened by the product. This recognition should lead to action to reveal the risks of the product and hopefully lawsuits as big as this one will make more consumers aware of the dangers. This danger is particularly heinous considering how Johnson & Johnson advertises themselves. They should be held accountable within the full power of the law.

DUI Charges and Defenses

By on 6-29-2017 in Car Accidents, Criminal Defense Laws

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous products to consume if you are planning on driving. It may limit your physical and mental abilities, which will in turn compromise your driving. For this reason, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, also known as DUI or DWI, is illegal.

According to the website of this Westchester DWI lawyer, the penalties, at least in Westchester, will depend on the circumstances of your arrest and your previous record. For example, a first offense can translate of up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines, while a third offense up to 7 years and $10,000.

But what about the circumstances of your arrest? This means that there are factors that need to be considered to truly determine how severe the offense has been. Below are some of the most common factors to consider:

·       Your blood alcohol content – The legal limit is at 0.08%, and the farther you are from the limit, the worse your offense will be

·       Whether you have a child passenger or not – If you have an underage passenger, you are unnecessarily putting him at risk, so your case may be elevated into a worse one

·       Whether there has been an injury or property damage – If your reckless behavior has resulted into the injury of another person or the damage of another’s property, your offense may be considered worse, especially if the other party is innocent

But the website of Truslow & Truslow mentions that, even if you are innocent, the justice system and law enforcement agencies may aggressively pursue harsh sentences in order to discourage others from engaging in drunk driving. So, trying to defend the charges may be a viable option. Below are just some of the possible defenses:

·       Legality of stop – If you have been pulled over with no probable cause, anything in that pull over, including evidence, may be considered invalid

·       Legitimacy of officer’s observation – You can question the officer’s conclusion that you are drunk, especially on instances where you are showing signs of intoxication even if you are not, like when you are just sleepy or fatigued

·       Validity of tests – Tests can only be made if the arrest is valid and if the officers have given you enough information regarding them. Aside from validity, you can also question the tests’ results, maybe because of improper methods or defective tools

Property Owners should Ensure that their Premises are not Maintained in such a Way that Serious Harm or Injury is likely to Occur to Others

By on 5-25-2017 in Personal Injury

Slip and fall is one very common accident in the U.S., but who would have thought that it is the reason behind 8 million hospital emergency room visits every year. This is not the only alarming fact about slip and fall accidents, though. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slip and fall:

  • Accounts for 11% and 5% of the job-related fatalities for men and women, respectively;
  • Is the leading cause of occupational injury for people at least 55 years old and the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims;
  • Is the leading cause of lost days from work;
  • Is the cause of death of more 15,000 people over the age of 65 in 2005; and,
  • Causes hip fracture in 5% of all people who fall.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also says that materials used for flooring contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries every year. Some other causes of slip and fall accidents include: wet, oily, icy or slippery floors or surfaces: uneven, loose or broken floors, steps, sidewalks or stairs; a defective staircase; unsecured rugs or carpets; and hidden or tangled extension wires.

Rather than put the blame on injured victims, however, and say that the accident happened because they were not careful enough, personal injury lawyers, instead, hold property owners liable for injuries occurring within their properties. This is why slip and fall accidents are filed as premises liability cases (premises liability refers to a landowner’s accountability for injuries suffered by persons on his/her property due to a defective or unsafe condition). Injuries resulting to slipping, tripping or falling, are not the only scope of a premises liability lawsuit, though; it also includes injuries resulting from falling objects, electrocution, open excavations, broken chairs, and so forth.

As explained by the Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C. law firm, “The law is in many ways an important vehicle for protecting the rights of property owners, but along with these rights come important responsibilities. Chief among these is the responsibility of property owners to ensure that their premises are not maintained in such a way that serious harm or injury is likely to occur to others. Should they fail to uphold this responsibility, property owners may be held responsible for injuries others suffer through a premises liability claim.

Premises liability laws are an important safeguard for ensuring that property owners do not allow dangerous conditions to develop or persist. As such, when property owners allow unsafe conditions, personal injury lawyers believe they should be held accountable by holding them liable for the harm they have caused. This gives victims of unsafe properties the chance to get both the justice and financial compensation they need.”

Types of Auto Accidents

By on 1-25-2017 in Car Accidents

Car accidents can occur because of different reasons, such as driver error, defective auto parts, and defective roads. These accidents can easily cause injury or death, property damage, traffic, and all their financial costs.

But what exactly are the different kinds of auto accidents that can occur? They are important to know so you can avoid them intentionally.

Single-vehicle Collision

Single-vehicle collisions occur when only one vehicle has been involved. Most of these collisions happen because the driver has lost control of the vehicle, maybe because of distracted driving or drunk driving. The vehicle ends up crashing into walls, utility poles, fire hydrants, barriers, guardrails, trees, and other possible obstructions.

Head-on Collision

A head-on collision happens when the front ends of two vehicles crash into each other. This is one of the deadliest kinds of car accidents, because the force of the collision is directly in front of the driver and he or she can absorb a big portion of it. Most head-on collisions occur when a vehicle veers into the opposite lane or drives the wrong way.

Rear-end Collision

A rear-end collision occurs when a car hits the back end of another. One of the most common causes of rear-end collisions is tailgating, where a vehicle is traveling too near another that when the other vehicle brakes, the vehicle will not have enough time to react and crash to the other’s rear end. Rear-end collision injuries include whiplash, head trauma, and back pain, caused by the sudden jolt of the vehicle.

T-bone Collision

T-bone collision, also known as broadside collision, occurs when the side of a car has collided with another. Most T-bone collisions happen because of right-of-way issues on intersections, like when a vehicle runs through a red light and hits another that is running through a green light. Most of the time, the injuries are worse on the broadsided vehicle.

Rollover Collision

Rollover collisions occur when one of the vehicles involved has rolled over or overturned. Rollovers can be caused by sharp turns, dangerous maneuvers, and even direct collisions. Rollovers can also happen on single-vehicle accidents. Victims of rollover accidents are very vulnerable to being ejected or trapped in the vehicle.

Knowledge of these kinds of accidents is only the first step to prevent them from happening. The best way to completely avoid them is through diligent driving. If you have been involved in an accident because of the reckless and negligent behavior of another, you may be entitled to compensation. In these cases, you may want to get legal help, such as the Houston personal injury attorneys of the Mokaram Law Firm. Do not be afraid to step up, especially because your safety is already involved.

Are Nursing Homes Still Safe for Your Loved Ones?

By on 12-05-2016 in Nursing Home Abuse

Thousands of Americans, as they reach the age of 60, grow weak due to illness, chronic fatigue or loss of muscle strength due to aging and/or inactive lifestyle. These types of weak condition necessitates assistance even in the performance of the most ordinary daily activities.

Work, however, renders many families incapable of providing for their elders the full-time attention and care they need; thus they turn to nursing homes where they know and expect their loved ones to be provided the time, attention and quality care they have come to need.

In May 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that there were about 15,600 nursing home facilities all across the U.S. (a little above 15,000 of these facilities were certified). The number patients or resident (these are made up of elders, usually those 65 years old or above, people who are physically or mentally incapacitated, those needing rehabilitative therapies due to an illness or an accident, and those who need extra care, like Alzheimer patients) was estimated at 1.5 million.

According to the American Association for Justice, not enough staff and/or nurses is one of the major reasons why abuses are committed in nursing homes and, alarmingly, about 90% of nursing homes do not have the needed number of staff and nurses. Equally fearful is the fact that many facilities refuse to hire additional people despite knowledge that there is not enough staff to attend to all of residents’ needs and that this lack results not only to acts of abuses, but to acts of neglect as well. Furthermore, the American Association for Justice says that only one out of ten abuses gets reported, concealing the real number of cruel acts against the elderly and other residents.

The different types of abuses complained about in the nursing homes include physical abuse, resident to resident abuse, psychological abuse, gross neglect, financial abuse and, sexual abuse, the type that is most humiliating and least reported.

Abuses and neglect in nursing homes happen more often than many people realize. In hundreds of facilities in many different states, the advertisement and the promise of quality care and attention, and clean and healthy environment are immediately replaced with substandard treatment in a poorly sanitized environment as soon as one becomes a resident.

According to Evans Moore Law, making the decision to move an aging family member to a nursing home or assisted living facility is a difficult one, but it is usually done with the belief that these institutions will be able to provide them with a level of care and attention they cannot receive elsewhere. Unfortunately, far too many nursing home facilities fail to uphold the state and federal regulations that are meant to protect their residents. While many facilities do uphold the highest level of care for their residents, abuse and neglect do occur with surprising regularity. The elderly population is especially vulnerable, so immediate criminal and civil action needs to be taken to prevent any further harm from occurring, and to begin your family’s path towards recovery.

What You Need To Know About Taxotere Lawsuit

By on 10-20-2016 in Dangerous Medications

Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug prescribed for breast cancer treatment. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996. Since then, taxotere has become the most popular drug used for treating breast cancer. Since then, it has become the most preferred drug prescribed to breast cancer patients. While the drug is effective in extending survival, one of its most glaring side effects is alopecia or permanent hair loss.

While hair loss is a well-known symptom of chemotherapy, it is expected go grow back within 3 – 6 months after stopping treatment. Unfortunately, according to the website of Williams Kherkher, approximately 10 to 15 percent of women who used the drug reported absence of hair growth for as long as ten years after treatment. Studies have revealed that permanent alopecia affects all body hair including eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair.

Aside from hair loss, taxotere is also associated with other side effects, most of which are reversible. In more than 30 percent of the patients, the following side effects happened:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Fluid retention
  • Infections
  • Mouth sores
  • Nail changes
  • Nausea
  • Peripheral neuropathy

In 10 to 29 percent of the patients, the following side effects occurred:

  • Muscle, joint, or bone pain
  • Low platelets
  • Liver problems

Sanofi informed other countries of the permanent hair loss side effect of taxotere. In the US, however, the words permanent hair loss or alopecia did not appear in any information published in the US. This was the contention of lawsuits filed against Sanofi-Aventis. The filed case revolved around the following issues:

  • Selling the drug without properly testing it
  • Downplaying the dangers associated with the drug
  • Manufacturing a dangerous drug
  • Not warning patients and health care providers
  • Concealing information from the public
  • Selling the drug without revealing the dangers or risks
  • Failure to determine the safety of the drug
  • Misleading the public in advertising and marketing
  • Manufacturing a dangerous drug

Hair loss has been consistently ranked as one of the most distressing side effects of cancer treatment and can affect well-being and quality of life. It may also affect body image.

Birth Injury and its Possible Causes

By on 8-18-2016 in Birth Injury, Personal Injury

Through modern medicine, doctors and mothers are provided with choices on how to make the birthing process less painful and a bit faster. In every procedure, however, more so surgical procedures, there are trade-offs that can be a cause of danger and, unfortunately for many mothers about to give birth, they are never told about this possible danger.

The dangers associated with birthing procedures often result to birth injuries. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, there are about 28,000 birth injury cases reported every year; about 9,000 of these result to the death of a new born.

Majority of birth injury cases, though, as well as of other medical errors, are due to acts of negligence; this means that injuries or deaths resulting from these acts and mistakes are totally preventable had proper care been observed. According to birth injury attorney from the Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., law firm a birth injury can be due to:

  • A doctor depending too much on modern medical devices
  • A doctor failing to dedicate the time to prepare for proper birth
  • A doctor dangerously performing a rush delivery
  • Incorrect or unnecessary use of assisting tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors
  • Improper distress monitoring
  • Failure to perform emergency cesarean surgery when needed
  • Incorrectly pulling or twisting the baby during delivery
  • Medicating the mother with drugs unsuitable for pregnancy

Giving birth to an injured infant only because of the carelessness of someone who you very much trusted is a very painful reality to many American families.

All the months of discomfort and, finally, the labor pains felt by an expecting mother should be turned into the most wonderful of feelings as she gives birth to her baby – this is how things should be, but not for all mothers. It takes only a single mistake from an obstetrician and his/her team to make a new born suffer a lifetime of medical problems; worst, however, is a mistake which cause infant death.

There are different factors resulting to birth injury, also known as birth trauma. It could be delayed birth; oxygen deprivation; the fetus is in an abnormal position in the uterus (during birth); the baby is too big; or, difficult delivery, which happens if the mother’s birth canal is too small.

Families of injured infants have all the reason to pursue legal action against careless doctors and other negligent medically trained personnel – both for the purpose or making sure that those liable would exercise extreme care in the future, as well as for seeking compensation for the child’s sake and future.