Category: Catastrophic Injury And Wrongful Death

On Behalf of

If your teen is getting their driver’s license soon and will be needing a car of their own, it may be tempting to give them one of your older vehicles or buy a used one to save some money. However, your first priority should be their safety.

That means doing some research on how various vehicles are rated for safety. It may also mean getting them a newer-model car with some safety features that weren’t around even a decade ago.

There are plenty of places to look for safety ratings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Consumer Reports, for example, rank vehicles every year based on how they do in collision tests.

The right advanced safety features can also help protect novice drivers, as long as they don’t start to rely on them as an alternative to keeping their eyes and attention on the road or their surroundings. NHTSA recommends the following driver assistance technologies for anyone shopping for a vehicle:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Rear video system

Many newer models have additional safety features, like blind spot warnings that let drivers know when a car is approaching in the lane next to them or a vehicle or pedestrian is near the rear of their vehicle.

Typically, a larger, heavier vehicle performs better in a crash than a smaller, sportier one. The insurance rates (especially for a teen driver) may be lower as well. However, before you consider letting your teen have your big, sturdy SUV, remember that could tempt them to give let multiple passengers pile in. That can be dangerous (and illegal) if those passengers are teens.

Even responsible teens driving a sensible car with the newest safety features can get involved in serious crashes if they encounter a reckless, impaired or distracted driver. Make sure that you get the compensation you need for medical expenses, physical therapy and other economic and noneconomic damages.

On Behalf of

Your seven vertebrae at the top of your spinal cord in your neck area comprise the cervical spine. Individuals who hurt one of these vertebrae are at a significantly higher risk for spinal cord injuries such as quadriplegia. This may affect a patient’s ability to move their limbs or feel anything before their neck or shoulder area. This has to do in large part with the proximity of a patient’s injury to their brain.

Any type of cervical neck injury can result in the victim experiencing either partial or complete permanent loss of their sensory functions and collateral consequences. Those cervical neck injuries that are higher up along the spine tend to result in the most severe complications and even death.

Individuals who suffer cervical neck injuries tend to experience significant swelling along their spinal cord in the immediate aftermath of their accident. Doctors generally have to perform a surgical procedure to stabilize the neck and alleviate pressure on a patient’s spinal cord. It’s only once these happen that doctors are better able to come up with a prognosis.

Patients often receive steroids and other anti-inflammatory medications following their injury in hopes of reducing swelling, since swelling can cause further complications. Surgery can aid with stabilization, but seldom aids a patient in recovery from their injuries. Spinal injuries are typically permanent.

Most individuals who suffer cervical neck injuries undergo regular rounds of rehabilitation aimed at helping them recover the use of their non-paralyzed body parts. Therapists focus on teaching patients how to more effectively use those to regain a sense of autonomy in their lives.

Even though patients learn different autonomous skills, they don’t often allow them to be left completely alone. Individuals with spinal cord injuries generally require around-the-clock care for the rest of their lives.

Life is quite fragile. An individual can easily move from being able to walk, run or swim one minute to being unable to do anything the next. All of this can happen because the person slips and falls on a wet or dirty floor, is involved in a car accident or is a victim of a crime.

Events of this type can change a patient’s life in an instant. A personal injury attorney in Rochester can advise you of how Michigan law allows you to file a lawsuit seeking damages if someone’s negligence resulted in you getting hurt here.

On Behalf of

A 28-year-old man in Michigan’s Ypsilanti Township has died after an auto accident. He was attempting to cross Michigan Avenue, according to officials, when he was hit and killed.

Reports say that the crash happened on Monday, March 16, right around 3:00 a.m. The man was between Elder road and Wilson road, walking west down the avenue. He then opted to cross over to the other side of the street. As he did, a passing vehicle hit him, and he passed away from the injuries suffered in the crash.

The driver of the car that struck him was a 17-year-old girl from Ypsilanti. She was going down Michigan Avenue in the opposite direction that the man was walking, heading east.

Police responded to the reports of the crash and shut the road down to investigate. When they had done what they needed to do with it closed, they opened the avenue back up again. However, their investigation is ongoing, and they have not yet speculated on exactly why the accident happened.

Pedestrians face a lot of risks when walking near highways and other roads all over the state, and these risks only go up at night, when visibility is reduced dramatically. In this particular incident, it is also interesting that it was such a young driver, as night driving is notoriously more difficult for younger, inexperienced drivers, and that’s why many driver’s training courses spend time practicing at night.

In any case, this accident underscores the very real danger for pedestrians. The families of those who get hit and killed need to know what legal options they have.

On Behalf of

Many people would do just about anything to avoid having to undergo surgery — even live with chronic pain. The idea of being placed under general anesthesia and cut open is frightening. Most everyone knows first- or second-hand of a case where something has gone wrong during surgery.

The evidence is more than anecdotal. According to a new study by Coverys (a medical liability insurer), more medical malpractice claims involve surgery than any other issue, with the exception of diagnostic errors. General surgery was the most common type, followed by orthopedic and neurosurgery.

The study looked at over 2,500 closed malpractice claims from 2014 through 2018. Of those, 29% involved permanent and significant injuries, while 9% involved fatalities.

So, why is surgery the second most common reason for malpractice lawsuits (at 25% of all claims)?

Not surprisingly, most of them (over three-fourths) involved physician performance during the procedure. Nearly 40% referenced a lack of technical skill. Relatively few, however, mentioned two surgical issues we hear a lot about — leaving an object inside the patient (7%) and operating on the wrong site/side (3%).

The authors of the study recommended removing as many distractions as possible in the operating room. They advised having no music, turning off or silencing cellphones, not allowing observers and minimizing conversation. They suggested having what in aviation is know as a “sterile cockpit.” Flight crew members are not allowed to do any nonessential duties or have nonessential conversations during takeoff, landing and in other high-risk situations.

Interesting fact: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) adopted the Sterile Cockpit Rule in part due to a tragic commercial plane crash in 1974 that took the lives of over 70 people on a commercial flight, including the father and two brothers of late-night host Stephen Colbert.

Not all surgery-related malpractice claims involved the operation itself. Some cited the decision-making process, presurgical care, judgment and communication. Another recommendation by the authors was that surgeons make sure they’re giving their patients the necessary information to provide informed consent and that they document those discussions.

If you or a loved one suffered harm as the result of a surgical procedure, it can be difficult to know if it was preventable. Nonmedical professionals can feel overwhelmed by the information and excuses provided by doctors and other medical personnel. That’s why it’s essential to seek the guidance of an experienced malpractice attorney.

On Behalf of

Crush injuries can occur in many situations. For example, motor vehicle accidents cause crush injuries if the victim becomes trapped under the car or a heavy piece of the car. If the victim cannot be extricated, the excessive weight continues to press upon the affected part of the body. Without fast and correct medical treatment, a relatively minor broken leg may escalate into a more serious catastrophic injury or death.

In our Rochester, Michigan, legal practice, we have seen the devastation crush injuries can cause firsthand. We want to make sure all residents of the state understand just how dangerous crush injuries are. In addition to the initial crushing of the victim, which may result in severe fractures and other catastrophic injuries, complications from the damage may result in wrongful death.

For example, the emergency medical technician (EMT) that arrives to administer treatment should be trained in how to manage crush injuries. If the EMT or even a hospital emergency room fails to treat the victim properly, death may occur. This usually happens because the injury facilitates the release of toxic chemicals into the victim’s body. These victims may have grounds to file a catastrophic injury or wrongful death claim for several reasons. Two of these reasons include:

  • When negligence on another person’s part caused the injury or the death
  • When medical personnel fail to provide the victim with proper crush injury treatment

The consequences associated with catastrophic injuries and wrongful death extend beyond the victim to all his or her loved ones. The financial side of such injuries alone makes it vitally important to consider pursuing compensation. Such compensation can help victims with devastating injuries recover as much as possible. Financial compensation in the wake of wrongful death can help bereaved family members move forward.

Please keep exploring our firm’s website to discover your legal options after negligence harms you or your family.

On Behalf of

We all know that as people get into their senior years, their cognition, physical mobility and reflexes can suffer — impacting their ability to drive safely. However, certain medical conditions can seriously affect a person’s driving ability as well. Some of these are associated with aging. Others can occur at any age.

If a person gets into an accident and law enforcement authorities believe a medical condition may have caused or contributed to it, they may be required to get a doctor’s authorization to get their license back. They may have to retake the written and road tests as well.

However, until and unless a person is involved in an accident or they’re required by state law to retake tests when their license is up for renewal, they may continue to drive when it’s not safe. This is especially true if they don’t have family members around to stop them — or loved ones who don’t want to take on that unenviable task.

State licensing requirements for senior drivers vary significantly. Some states, like Michigan, have no special requirements for senior drivers. However, in Illinois, drivers over 75 must take a road test in order to renew their license.

Two of the most common medical conditions that impact senior drivers are related to vision: cataracts and macular degeneration. Both conditions typically progress over time.

Of course, dementia can impact judgment, decision-making skills and memory. It, too, is progressive. People may not realize until it’s too late that a loved one is suffering from dementia and that they should no longer get behind the wheel.

Epilepsy, unlike the above medical conditions, can afflict people of any age. The danger in driving from people with this neurological disorder is that they can suffer seizures that can cause them to lose awareness and possibly even consciousness. Sometimes, if a person with epilepsy is able to prevent seizures with medication, they may be allowed to drive on a restricted license. Every situation is different, and — again — requirements vary by state.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a crash caused by another driver’s medical condition, that should not impact your ability to seek compensation for expenses and damages. It’s wise to talk with an attorney to determine how best to proceed.

On Behalf of

One of the greatest dangers that people face, all over Michigan, comes from car accidents. As common as driving is, it’s one of the riskiest activities you can ever engage in, taking tens of thousands of American lives every year.

Of course, the risks you face may have something to do with precisely where you drive, as some areas are safer than others. If you’re from Rochester, what you want to know is how safe Oakland County really is. Unfortunately, the statistics show that it’s one of the most dangerous counties in the state, at least as far as car accidents are concerned.

The most recent data from the state government is for 2018. That year, 53 people died in car accidents in Oakland County. There were 40,814 total accidents, and 7,558 people got injured in these crashes.

Counties with similar fatality statistics included Macomb County, where 52 people lost their lives, and Genesee County, where 39 people died in car accidents. You can also find fairly high fatality statistics in Kent County, where 61 people died.

As dangerous as Oakland County is, it was not the worst for Michigan drivers — something people need to keep in mind when traveling across the state. The most fatalities happened in Wayne County, where 153 people lost their lives. That’s nearly one person every other day, on average.

Have you suffered catastrophic injuries in a car accident or have you lost a loved one? The danger is real. If this happens to you, make sure you know what legal options you have.

On Behalf of

Dog bites can range from a small but painful nip on the ankle by a Chihuahua protecting its home or person to a devastating attack by a large, strong dog. Recently, here in Michigan, a pit bull at the Oakland County Animal Shelter that had been removed from its home and placed in quarantine after reportedly biting people, attacked an employee so aggressively that she ended up in the hospital with muscle damage requiring surgery.

Dogs sometimes pay the ultimate price, as this one did, for their actions. It was shot and killed because it wouldn’t let go of the shelter employee. However, when a dog injures someone, its owners can be sued by the victim under certain circumstances.

The laws regarding liability for dog bites and attacks vary. In some cases, an owner can’t be held liable the first time a dog bites someone since it’s presumed they’d have no way of knowing their dog had aggressive tendencies.

Here in Michigan, however, we have what’s called “strict liability” when it comes to dog bites. An owner can be held liable the first time their dog bites someone unless they can show that the victim was trespassing on their property and/or provoked the animal in some way.

You can take legal action against an owner if you were bitten or attacked by a dog in a public space. You can also sue them if you were injured by the dog on private property where you were invited or had a right to be (such as a mail carrier or utility worker doing their job or a customer at a business). However, you’ll need to show that you did nothing to harm or otherwise provoke the dog prior to the bite.

Victims can seek damages to cover medical bills, loss of income and other economic damages. If the injuries are so severe that they will likely result in long-term disfigurement or disability, you can also seek compensation for emotional distress and other noneconomic damages. Even a serious bite or attack that doesn’t leave permanent physical scars can leave emotional ones.

Michigan’s statute of limitations for seeking compensation for dog bites is three years from the date of the injury. It’s best to discuss your legal options with an attorney.

On Behalf of

We all know that even seemingly minor falls can be more dangerous for older people than younger ones. Older people are more likely to fall for a number of reasons. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you count on the staff there to do everything possible to minimize your family member’s risk of falling.

However, you need to know if they’ve had a serious fall or are frequently falling. Moreover, a doctor should check them out fully after each fall. The full extent of their injuries must be determined. They also need to find out if there are underlying problems that contributed to the fall and that could put them at risk of future falls or other medical issues.

After an elderly person falls, a doctor should review the medications they’re taking to see if they may have caused or contributed to the fall. Sleeping and anxiety medications can affect alertness and balance. So can medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and pain.

Certainly, some (if not all) of your loved one’s medications may be necessary. However, they may be taking medications that aren’t required or that can be replaced by others that don’t have side effects that increases their fall risk. If they need to remain on meds that can make falls more likely, the staff should take precautions to keep your loved one safe.

After a fall, a doctor should check an elderly person for signs of a new or undiagnosed illness or condition. If they (or you) have noticed increased weakness or other new symptoms indicating that something is wrong, the doctor needs to be told. Weakness can be a symptom of a host of conditions including anemia, pneumonia, heart problems and an abnormal blood count.

If your loved one is developing problems with their balance or gait, it could be simply part of the aging process. However, it could be a symptom of an underlying neurological condition.

Make sure that they have the proper prescription for their glasses. If they need a cane or walker, make sure they’re using it regularly.

Falls shouldn’t be a normal part of life for anyone at any age. If a loved one is injured in a fall in a nursing home, make sure that any issues that caused it are being addressed.

On Behalf of

This time of year, we can’t always find a parking space close to the building we’re going into. We may have to walk some distance. If it’s dark, snow is coming down around us or we’re juggling multiple packages, it can be difficult to see every car that’s pulling out from their parking space around us. Too often, the driver doesn’t see us.

Vehicles are typically traveling at relatively slow speeds in parking lots. However, if you’re struck by one, the results can be devastating. Pedestrians who are struck by cars and larger vehicles like SUVs can suffer catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries.

People should, of course, drive slowly, avoid distractions and look in all directions as they move through parking lots. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. A driver may be finishing up a phone call, programming their GPS or selecting the latest installment of their favorite podcast or getting their kids to settle down as they’re pulling out of their spot or heading towards the exit. Don’t assume they see you just because they should.

It’s essential to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Put the phone and AirPods away. You need to see and hear what’s happening around you. It’s not just distracted drivers you need to be aware of. Dark and/or deserted parking lots can attract people who are up to no good.

You can also help stay safe by parking as close to the building as possible. If you can’t, at least try to avoid an area where there are few or no other vehicles. If it’s dark (or getting there), park in a well-lit area — preferably directly under a light.

If you have packages or other valuables in your vehicle, put them out of sight. If you can’t fit them in the trunk, place them on the floor with a blanket or something covering them.

If you’re injured by a driver in a parking lot, it’s essential to make sure that you get the money you need for medical care, physical therapy and other expenses. If you’re the victim of a violent crime because a parking lot lacked appropriate lighting or security, it may be possible to hold the property owners liable. Whatever the situation, if you need help seeking justice and compensation, an experienced attorney can help.