Steps to Take If You Are Hit By A Drunk Driver

Drunk driving accidentIf you are involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, the Law Firm of Carey, Danis & Lowe can give you advice about what to do during a traumatic event of this nature.

We understand that as a victim, you will need to be able quick assistance as it relates to personal injuries of you or other passengers. Whether you are critically injured at the scene of the collision or suffering minor injuries, we would like to suggest some important factors and practices to keep in mind if you should ever find yourself in a traffic infraction involving a drunk driver.

At the Scene of the Accident

Depending on the severity of the accident, it will be crucial to gather as much information as possible for your insurance company and legal associates.

  • If you are physically able to do so, call 911 immediately to report the collision.
  • Check all other passengers in your vehicle to see if there are any injuries.
  • Check all other involved parties to see if there are any injuries.
  • Assess the damage of your vehicle.
  • Take as many photos of the damage as possible, including surroundings if visibility allows.
  • Exchange insurance information with all involved parties.
  • Do not leave the scene until authorities AND the Emergency Response Team arrives.
  • Provide the authorities with a detailed account of how the accident occurred.

Once You Leave the Scene

Once you leave the scene, you should contact your insurance company immediately and let them know you have been involved in an accident. This is a legal expectation that is part of all car insurance policies. Get a folder to hold copies of information related to the accident. This would include:

  • Citations that may have been issued at the scene
  • Hospital visit, doctor, or specialist visits/appointments
  • Medical bills and receipts related to the accident
  • Insurance claim correspondence from all involved parties
  • Printed photos from scene and personal injuries
  • Tow truck, car rental, and/or auto mechanic receipts
  • Estimates of any services for medical, auto, and insurance establishments
  • Family Medical Leave Act documentation from employer, if appropriate

Follow-Up Responsibilities

  • Attend all hearings, depositions, and legal related appointments.
  • Keep open communication between you and your attorneys by providing immediate documentation or feedback when requested.
  • Do not respond to your insurance company with negotiated settlements until discussing them with your attorney.

The aftermath of any accident can cause a ripple effect in your ability to recover physically, financially, and mentally. Here at Carey, Danis & Lowe, we want to make sure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities before signing any legal waivers and documents. As with any legal consultative matter, we will readily avail ourselves to assist our clients with getting their lives back to normal as much as possible. Allow us to handle all your legal concerns during this process. Call us today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer

Lawyer SealChoosing a personal injury lawyer can make the difference in the outcome of a case. Careful research should be conducted in order to make sure the most qualified attorney is hired.

Education and Certification

The best personal injury lawyer has obtained a bachelor’s degree and received a law degree from a reputable law school. An attorney should have also passed the examination administered by the American Bar Association. It is possible to contact the American Bar Association to get recommendations of local lawyers who have successfully passed their examinations.

Experience and Performance Record

Reputable attorneys typically have worked closely with experienced lawyers in the early stages of their career in order to obtain training from attorneys who are experienced.   It is also a good idea to find out the number of years an attorney has been in practice you are considering hiring and the number of cases he or she has handled. Personal injury attorneys who have tried a number of similar cases should be high on the list of attorneys that you would want to hire.

Strong Speaking and Presentation Skills

If a lawyer is not able to present themselves and all evidence pertaining to a case in a confident manner, hiring that particularly attorney could prove to be detrimental in court. An attorney should also be able to speak clearly and in a way that concisely expresses all critical points involved in a case. One of the best ways to gauge a lawyer’s confidence and presentation skills is during the initial consultation.

An Eye for Detail

Personal injury lawyers are required to handle many details while working on a case. The best professionals will be able to look at every aspect in an orderly fashion so that a solid argument can be presented in court or while attempting to reach a settlement. Lawyers in this field should also be capable of explaining all the important details in a way that is easy for clients to understand.

Fee Structure

Most personal injury attorneys handle cases on a contingent fee basis; the advance all expenses and are paid back only from the recovery.  If there is no recovery you will not owe  the attorney anything. If you need a personal injury lawyer to represent you, Carey, Danis & Lowe will be glad to help. Call us today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Whiplash injuries

WhiplashWhiplash is a generic term used to describe injuries most often sustained in motor vehicle collisions. The most common whiplash occurs when one vehicle is stopped and another vehicle collides with its rear end. The person in the stopped vehicle is usually at highest risk of a whiplash injury.

How it Occurs

As a result of impact, a sudden and violent backward movement of the head and neck (called extension) occurs and then the victim is thrown forward (called flexion). This hyper-extension, hyperflexion action causes injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and discs in the neck. Whiplash can also occur from side to side movement if a vehicle was broadsided.

Symptoms

Whiplash symptoms can be sudden, but it’s not at all unusual for them to arise many hours after an impact. They can get worse over the next few days. The symptoms can include neck stiffness with loss of range of motion, headaches, pain between the shoulders, arm pain and/or hand pain, jaw pain, dizziness, and blurred vision.

Whiplash Diagnosis

In cases involving any indication of a neck injury, x-rays of the cervical spine (neck) are almost always taken. They’re often taken again about a week later for purposes of comparison. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is often performed if something more serious than a cervical sprain/strain is suspected. The MRI is better suited than x-rays to detect neck injuries involving spinal disc displacement and/or herniation.

Whiplash Treatment

The usual and customary conservative course of treatment for a whiplash injury involves a course of an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, and/or chiropractic, massage therapy or physical therapy. Recovery time depends on the extent of the whiplash injury. Average recovery time is between a month and six weeks, but some people suffering whiplash injuries take longer than six months to recover. Some never fully recover.

Surgery for Whiplash Injuries

When conservative treatment hasn’t resulted in improvement, surgery might be the best option. A herniated intervertebral disc between two vertebrae can cause persistent significant arm pain and weakness. This might call for removal of the disc and implantation of an artificial disc or spinal fusion at the affected level. If a narrowing of the spinal canal occurs, or a narrowing of the space where a nerve exits the spinal canal occurs, other procedures might be involved like partial removal of a disc or bone.

Damages sustained as a result of a whiplash injury can be claimed in a lawsuit. They can include bills for treatment, surgery and rehabilitation, lost earnings, future lost earnings, pain and suffering, and permanent disability. We have built strong cases against negligent drivers. Call us today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Staying Safe on Snowy & Icy Winter Roads

Parked Cars On A Snowstorm Winter DayAs the winter weather continues to pummel portions of the country, we must be prepared to drive on snowy and icy roads. The winter season is one of the most dangerous times of the year for drivers across the country, especially when it comes to driving in the middle of a winter storm. The more you know about staying safe, the better off you will be when you hit the roads during a snow or ice storm.

Utilize a Winter Survival Kit

You should make sure there is enough room in the trunk of your car for a winter survival kit. The kit should include a blanket, an ice scraper, gloves, a hat, a flashlight with extra batteries, a shovel, salt, and jumper cables. You should check the contents of the kit each winter and make sure the flashlight and cables still work so you are not left out in the cold.

Clean Your Car

A handful of states have laws that require motorists to clean their vehicles before driving them during the winter months. This means that they must be free of snow and ice before hitting the roads. When a vehicle travels at a high rate of speed with snow still on it, the snow will blow off the car and potentially blind other drivers. Make sure to clean all the snow off your car, even the roof, before heading out this winter.

Take Care on Bridges and Overpasses

Motorists tend to forget that bridges and overpasses freeze quicker than normal roads. This is the reason that signs are posted stating, “Bridge ices before road.” Motorists who forget this will continue at the same speed over a bridge or overpass, running into potential problems such as sliding or spinning out on the road.

Avoid Cruise Control

Never use cruise control when driving on wet, snowy, or icy roads during the winter months. It has become commonplace for many motorists to use cruise control on long trips or when driving to and from work. It prevents you from speeding and keeps your legs from becoming fatigued. If you use cruise control during the winter months, you run the risk of making a skid much worse. When a vehicle spins while on cruise control, the wheels will spin rapidly because cruise control will still attempt to maintain the set speed. You can avoid this issue by not using cruise control until the weather turns warmer.

Leave Extra Space between Vehicles

Outside of the winter months, it is important to leave enough following distance between vehicles. It is important to add extra space to that during the winter months. Tailgating during the winter can lead to fender benders or even major accidents.

Some winter accidents involving tailgating are not serious, but serious injuries can occur while dealing with the accident as other vehicles could slide or plow into you while on the side of the road.

Have you been involved in an accident due to snow or ice? If so, contact the law office of Carey, Danis & Lowe at 877-678-3400 or by filling out the contact form on our website. We will get back to you within 24 hours to schedule a consultation.

Causes of Drug and Defective Medical Device Injuries

Pharmaceutical IndustryNo matter that drugs and medical devices are FDA approved, they still may be defective and dangerous.  The FDA approval process is not a rigorous as many people believe There are various causes of drug and defective medical device injuries.

Contamination

Contamination can become a major issue when dealing with drugs or defective medical devices. This does not happen often, but when it does, the injuries to patients can be devastating. Injuries include infections, intense pain, issues with vision, hearing loss, and sometimes even death.

If drugs become contaminated, specifically with fungal mold, patients who take the drugs can become ill. In a recent outbreak, steroid users were infected with bacterial meningitis due to fungal mold, which resulted in serious injuries and some deaths.

Medical devices can be contaminated if they are not sterilized properly or sterilized before they are implanted into a patient. For example, many tools used by a doctor are not thrown away. They are reused multiple times after being sterilized. If they are not sterilized properly, patients could be subject to infections.

Errors in Manufacturing

It is all too common for manufacturing errors to occur during the production of drugs and medical devices.

At times, drugs can be mixed with the incorrect amount of an ingredient or with the wrong ingredient completely. When it comes to medical devices, a mistake might have been missed in the manufacturing process that leads to injuries or the wrongful death of patients.

For example, thousands of patients were injured when their Stryker metal on metal hip implants malfunctioned.  The design of metal on metal hips released particles of heavy metals into the blood that caused intense pain chronic inflammation and degradation of bone.

Safety Testing Not up to Par

Another common cause of drug and defective medical device injuries is that of inadequate safety testing. The laws in the United States allow drugs and medical devices to skip the safety testing process if it can be proven that they are similar to drugs and medical devices that are already approved for the market. When this happens, the items that find their way onto the market without safety testing could be harmful to users.

Inadequate Instructions

In some instances, inadequate instructions can lead to drug and medical device injuries. Sometimes, the manufacturer of the drug or medical device does not provide the correct instructions or warnings so that the public will know how to properly use the items.

Design Defects

When medical devices are being designed, it is possible that a flaw could be missed by the manufacturer. If this occurs, the public can be hurt by the design flaw. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure the safety of users.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective drug or medical device, contact the law offices of Carey, Danis & Lowe by filling out our contact form or by calling 877-678-3400 and we will be in touch within 24 hours.

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

Health Professional Showing Medical ReportsWhen proper medical care is not provided to a patient, it can result in medical malpractice, which is typically committed by a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional. It is a rare occurrence for doctors or nurses to make mistakes, but when they do, the same types of mistakes are often made.

In order to prove that medical malpractice has occurred, the victim has to show that the health care provider breached the standard of care of what a careful health care provider would do in the same or similar circumstance led to the injury that occurred. The victim will also need to prove that there was a doctor-patient relationship present when the malpractice occurred.

Delayed or Misdiagnosis

A common type of medical malpractice is that of a delayed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis of a patient’s condition. These issues account for a large amount of medical malpractice cases because they result in patients missing treatments that might have been able to prevent serious illness or even death.

In order to prove medical malpractice in a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis case, the patient must be able to prove what the treating doctor did differently than another doctor acting  within the standard of care would have done and that there would have been a difference in the outcome.

Surgery Errors

We have all heard the horror stories on the news and on television shows where patients go in for surgery and instead of having their health problem corrected, they suffer permanent injuries from the surgery or complications from the surgery. Some complications are the risk of the procedure and are not the result of negligence.  Others are the result of the doctor or nurses not following the proper procedures during the surgery.

Surgical errors that are rare but do occur include operating on the wrong part of the body, puncturing internal organs during the procedure, or nurses or hospital staff not overseeing the post operative care leading to postoperative complications becoming permanent injuries.  These include failure to monitor oxygen saturations, failure monitor for signs of infection and many others.

Medication Errors

Medication errors are all too common a problem in the United States, with more than one million people harmed per year by medication errors. Medication errors occur in multiple forms, but the most common errors include a doctor writing the wrong dosage on the prescription or a medical professional who administers the medication providing too much and overdosing the patient.

Another type of medication error occurs when the doctor writes a prescription for a  medication  but the person filling the prescription misreads it and provides the wrong medication with a similar name.

In a more rare instance, the machine filling the prescription could malfunction, causing a higher dosage of medicine to be dispensed into the bottle without the knowledge of the doctor, nurse, or patient.

Injuries during Childbirth

Childbirth injuries are another form of medical malpractice that can lead to serious birth defects or even death. Some of the most common forms of childbirth injuries include the following:

  • Cerebral palsy (usually the result of a hypoxic brain injury)
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Fractured bones
  • Klumpke’s palsy

Medical malpractice can occur before childbirth, which is termed prenatal care. Doctors and nurses can make mistakes with the prenatal care of the patient by failing to diagnose any issues or illnesses with the pregnancy. These include preeclampsia, hypoglycemia, Rh incompatibility, gestational diabetes, and anemia.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice committed by a doctor or nurse, contact the law office of Carey, Danis & Lowe at 877-678-3400 or fill out our contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your case.

Stryker Pays Out Over $1 Billion for Hip Replacement Lawsuits

Xray of Hip ReplacementStryker Corporation, which is a manufacturer of medical devices, has paid out more than $1 billion for lawsuits filed by patients who required revision surgery due to faulty hip replacements. The announcement of the settlement was made in early November 2014 in the Bergen County Courthouse in New Jersey. Superior Court Judge Brian Martinotti presided over the announcement.

The proposed agreement states that each patient who underwent revision surgery will receive $300,000. Stryker was forced to issue a worldwide recall of the hip implants in 2012 after 4,000 patients in 39 states filed lawsuits in both New Jersey state court and in U.S. federal court in Minnesota before District Judge David Frank.

The devices that caused the most issues in the lawsuits and that were eventually recalled were the ABG II and Rejuvenate metal-on-metal hip replacements. The patients who filed the lawsuits claimed that the hip replacements released metal particles into their blood and tissue. This caused swelling, intense pain, and other problems that required revision surgery in order to replace the implants.

Terms of the Stryker Settlement

Stryker was able to reach a settlement in the case before it went to trial, which might have saved the company millions of dollars despite the settlement hitting $1.4 billion. Per the terms of the settlement, any hip replacement patient who underwent revision surgery for the Rejuvenate or ABG II device before November 3, 2014, is eligible for money from the settlement. This includes patients who have not yet filed a claim, but had the revision surgery before the November 3, 2014 cutoff date.

As of right now, each patient is allotted close to $300,000 in the settlement. However, if a patient had to undergo multiple revision surgeries, he or she could be in line for a higher payout. If a patient had more severe injuries, such as a heart attack, a stroke, a foot drop, or death, he or she could see the payout increase to as much as $600,000.

Per the settlement agreement, patients who did not have revision surgery because it is too risky might also be eligible for a payout. Patients who did not have the surgery include people who are older or sickly. These patients could see a payout of close to $210,000, which is a 30% reduction in the award.

Stryker has said that it hopes to issue the majority of its payments in the settlement by the end of 2015. Any patient who is not happy with the payout terms in the settlement can opt out of the agreement and pursue their claim against Stryker in court.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or infection from a defective Stryker hip replacement, contact the office of Carey, Danis & Lowe at 877-678-3400 or fill out our contact form. We will be in touch within 24 hours to discuss your case as well as the next steps that should be taken.

Injuries That Cause Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder consisting of a number of symptoms that can limit physical movement or speech. In most cases, children are born with the disorder from an unknown cause. In other cases, medical negligence played a role in the development of cerebral palsy before, during, or after the birth.

Injuries That Can Lead to Cerebral Palsy

Injuries that can lead to the development of cerebral palsy usually involve some form of brain trauma. Pregnancy and birth-related injuries may involve:

  • The failure to diagnose or properly treat certain pregnancy conditions, such as a prolapsed umbilical cord
  • The failure to diagnose or properly treat certain physical illnesses or infections during pregnancy
  • The failure to adequately monitor fetal heart rate during labor and birth
  • The mismanagement of the birth of a baby too large for the birth canal
  • Negligent use of medical equipment
  • The failure to perform a Cesarean section once the surgery is deemed necessary

Birth-Related Causes

When a baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen for a period of time, cerebral palsy can result. This can occur during the birthing process, particularly if a baby is too large to travel through the birth canal or if the umbilical cord becomes prolapsed. A prolapsed umbilical cord means the baby’s weight or position compresses the cord, diminishing the flow of oxygen from the mother to the baby.

An emergency Cesarean section may be necessary in these situations. At this point, doctors need to move quickly to perform the procedure in order to stop the oxygen deprivation as soon as possible. If the medical team failed to see the prolapsed cord or properly monitor the fetal heart rate, which can alert them to a problem, the Cesarean section may not be performed in time to prevent the brain damage associated with cerebral palsy.

Pregnancy-Related Causes

If a pregnant woman has an illness or infection, such as chickenpox, meningitis, or rubella, and the condition is not diagnosed or treated appropriately, the infections can cause cerebral palsy in the fetus. Similarly, exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy can affect the brain development of a fetus. Proper treatment or an adequate warning about the chemical’s potential to harm a developing fetus may have protected the baby from cerebral palsy.

The Bottom Line

Cerebral palsy is not always the result of medical negligence. Sometimes, despite adequate quality prenatal and delivery care, a baby may still be diagnosed with the condition. In other cases, however, medical care was not provided with the standard of care expected by physicians, nurses, and hospitals. The failure to detect potentially harmful conditions for the fetus that could compromise the level of oxygen in the brain leaves a family coping with a life-changing disorder for the rest of that child’s life.

If you believe that your child developed cerebral palsy due to medical negligence, call today or fill out our contact form to reach Carey, Danis & Lowe. Experienced in handling birth injury claims, they will fight for your rights.

The Good Samaritan Law

When an emergency happens, the first responders that arrive at the scene are protected by the Good Samaritan law. This protection is not extended to emergency-room staff. Instead, it provides legal protection to those who are first to respond to an emergency in a volunteer or professional capacity, such as firefighters, ambulance crews, and paramedics.

The Good Samaritan Law

In general, people are not legally obligated to help in an emergency. The Good Samaritan Law is a state law designed to encourage people to help someone in need of emergency care and to keep emergency services intact. Due to malpractice lawsuits, some first responders may feel reluctant to intervene for fear of being sued later on for an unintentional injury or death.

The Good Samaritan Law states that as long as the first responder provides reasonable care to the person in need of medical attention, they are not otherwise held accountable for mistakes the same way hospitals and hospital staff are. Since emergencies often require quick responses and on-the-spot treatment for patient survival, the law recognizes that the chances for error are higher than in a normal hospital setting.

Managing an Emergency

When first responders arrive at the scene of an emergency, it is good practice to approach the injured person and ask permission to provide care. If the person is unable to communicate due to unconsciousness, it is expected that the first responders will assume a duty to rescue and that consent is implied. Thus, any life-saving measures or care should be initiated accordingly.

Exceptions to the Protection of the Good Samaritan Law

There are exceptions to the protection the Good Samaritan Law provides to first responders. In the event that a first responder behaves with gross negligence or recklessness and causes further injury or death to the person in need of medical attention, then accountability will be assigned to the negligent party. Negligence is gauged by the determination of whether another person of the same skill and education in similar circumstances would have responded in the same way or not. Protection may also be affected if the first responder helped with the intention of collecting a financial reward instead of providing care out of kindness.

The Bottom Line

People in emergency situations require immediate medical attention. First responders play an important part of providing care to a patient. The Good Samaritan Law protects first responders from mistakes made during emergency care. Exceptions to the immunity include:

  • Blatant reckless behavior
  • Gross negligent behavior
  • Behavior that causes intentional harm

The attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe have experience in malpractice law. They know the fine line between a legally forgivable mistake and medical negligence. If you have been injured and aren’t sure which laws apply to your case, call us today or fill out our online contact form for a consultation with Carey, Danis & Lowe. They care about your rights.

Safe Travels During the Holidays

Traveling during the holidays can fuel the excitement for the pending celebrations and family members that will be at the destination. However, overcrowded roadways, inclement weather, and negligent driving can pose serious risks for increased vehicle crashes. A few simple precautions can reduce your risk of being involved in a holiday accident.

Prepare for Long-Distance Travel

A properly maintained vehicle is more likely to make it to the destination without incident. Before putting the car on the road, have the tires, wipers, fluids, and oil checked, pack emergency supplies, and make sure maps or a navigation system is available for directions. The driver should pull over when studying a GPS or map to avoid distracted driving. Schedule stops along the way to avoid eating while driving or becoming fatigued, which has also been linked to car accidents.

Exercise Caution While Driving

All drivers have a duty of reasonable care to other drivers and pedestrians. Travel during the holiday season warrants even more caution due to driving conditions that are not present at other times of the year. Overcrowded roads, speeding vehicles, and ice and snow can contribute to hazardous driving conditions and increased accidents. To help avoid being involved in an accident, do the following:

  • Drive during less crowded times, such as early morning or late at night
  • Keep a safe distance from a leading car
  • Follow legal speed limits
  • Stay alert and pull over when fatigue may compromise driving
  • Abstain from alcohol and other substances before and during driving
  • Properly secure items in the back of a truck or on a trailer
  • Create an emergency plan with the passengers in the vehicle in case of an accident

Do Not Participate in Negligent Driving

Be a responsible driver. Distracted driving can be as dangerous as driving while under the influence. When driving, avoid:

  • Talking on a cellphone
  • Texting
  • Watching videos
  • Arguing with a passenger
  • Changing radio stations or manipulating the volume
  • Reading maps
  • Turning to talk to someone in the backseat
  • Traveling with an active, loose animal that could interfere with driving
  • Allowing children to toss toys or move about the vehicle

In the Event of an Accident

Despite your best efforts, you may still be involved in an accident due to the negligence of another driver. If you have sustained injuries during your holiday travels and would like to seek compensation, contact Carey, Danis & Lowe. The attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe are well-versed in accident laws and can determine the best course of action to take to recover some of your financial loss. Sustaining a personal injury during the holidays can be particularly overwhelming for the victim to handle. Contact us today or fill out our online contact form and the attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe will help relieve your stress by taking an instrumental part in negotiating the terms of any compensation to which you may be entitled. With them handling your claim, you can focus on making the most of your holiday.