Posts made in July, 2013

Joplin, MO Cracks Down on Car Accidents

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in Car Accidents, Personal Injury

Joplin is a city in Missouri with a population of 49,526 (2011 estimate). The recent devastation of the 2011 tornado that claimed 161 lives has made Joplin authorities determined not to add to the body count by tightening regulations on preventable car accidents.

One of the preventive measures employed by the Joplin Police Department is to establish a checkpoint for impaired drivers or those driving while intoxicated (DWI) over the March 29, 2013 weekend. The project was aimed at making Joplin residents aware of the consequences of impaired driving. DWI is the cause of nearly one-third of traffic accident fatalities in Missouri on average; that number for 2011 was 218, with a further 867 sustaining serious injuries. DWI in Missouri carries fines, license suspension, jail time and other undesirable consequences such as felony record for repeat offenders.

Another preventive measure was the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which imposed fines for drivers and passengers who were not using their seatbelts. About 70% of all car accident fatalities in Missouri had been unbuckled, which approaches the state average seatbelt use of 79%, 6 points below the national average. The campaign ran from May 20 to June 3, 2013.

The need for catching DWI drivers before they do any harm and the wisdom of using seatbelts was tragically illustrated in a traffic accident that occurred in Joplin on May 30, right in the middle of the Click It campaign. A vehicle travelling erratically just past midnight rolled over as it hit the curb, killing the unrestrained female passenger and seriously injuring the driver. Further investigations will reveal if the driver had indeed been intoxicated as initial reports indicate. The Joplin-based driver is being charged with involuntary manslaughter, and may also be facing a civil lawsuit for wrongful death.

If you are ever involved in a car crash in Joplin in the near future due to negligence or recklessness of other, it is not due to any lack of preventive measures by the authorities. Consult with a Joplin personal injury attorney and help drive home a point.

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Living with Dangerous Property Conditions

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 in Personal Injury, Premises Liability

When you first get a place of your very own, chances are it will be far from the ideal place to live. Walk-ups, old apartment buildings, and the like are usually cheap, ideal for tight budgets. Unfortunately, many of these affordable residences for rent exist in some state of disrepair, and this can develop into dangerous property conditions.

Some of the situations that may render a particular building risky to live in include:

  • Faulty wiring
  • Uneven flooring
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Leaky pipes
  • Defective light fixtures
  • Lack of usable fire escapes
  • Defective elevators
  • Old lead-based paint
  • Worn and broken steps

Any of these situations can lead to slip and falls, electrical fires, structural collapse or toxic exposure. Tenants may tolerate these dangerous property conditions, but that does not mean that the owner or landlord of the building is exempt from liability for any personal injury or property damage that may result.

Landlord liability is based on the premise that lessees of a property are entitled to a reasonable expectation of safety and security. In other words, a property owner that willingly accepts payment for occupancy has a duty of care towards these tenants. Under general tort law the property owner is liable for any injury or damage to a tenant directly caused by dangerous property conditions that the landlord knew or should have known about but failed to take action.
For example, if a tenant reported to the landlord that smoke was coming out of one of the wall sockets, the duty of care should prompt the landlord to investigate the source of the smoke, which may indicate faulty wiring. If the landlord fails to act and a fire breaks out, the owner will be liable for the property damage as well as any injuries or death that occurs to the tenants of the building.

If you are injured due to dangerous property conditions, consult with a premises liability lawyer. An experienced attorney would be able to assess the merits of your case and if you are eligible to recover damages from the property owner.

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Forceps and Facial Injuries at Birth

Posted by on Jul 5, 2013 in Birth Injuries, Personal Injury

Facial paralysis injuries at birth, also referred to as facial nerve palsy, are believed to be caused by trauma due to pressure on the facial nerve or seventh cranial nerve at the stylomastoid foramen, or that bone that lies over a portion of the facial canal. According to the website of Massachusetts personal injury attorneys Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, it is speculated that use of forceps in the delivery may be a contributory factor to such injuries at birth.

Facial paralysis due to forceps-based injuries at birth is thought to occur in nearly 9 out of 1,000 forceps deliveries. Other probable causes may be as a side-effect of epidural anesthesia, labor-inducing medications, large baby size or prolonged labor.

Facial nerve palsy may present as difficulty in eye closure on one side, skewing of the face or uneven movement of the mouth when crying, or lack of voluntary movement on one side of the face. There is no direct evidence that forceps deliver is the primary cause of facial injuries at birth, but in two-thirds of facial paralysis at birth, forceps had been used to assist a difficult birth or prolonged labor. It is believed that the curved ends of the forceps may have impinged on the facial nerves. The use of forceps is not recommended because of the many problems associated with it.

Facial nerve palsy is often a temporary condition, resolving after a few days to a few months without treatment. In some cases, however, the damage is more extensive and may require rehabilitation. For more severe cases, the effects are permanent and without known treatment. Children who suffer from severe facial nerve palsy due to injuries at birth are likely to have physical, emotional and psychological difficulties later on.

Injuries at birth such as facial nerve palsy may be due to medical errors during delivery, and may be a solid basis for a birth injury claim. Consult with a well-established personal injury lawyer if you or someone close to you has a child diagnosed with long-term facial nerve palsy.

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Getting Complete Police Car Wreck Reports not so Easy in Wisconsin

Posted by on Jul 3, 2013 in Car Accidents, Personal Injury

Getting a police report for a car wreck in Wisconsin may not be as easy as it sounds. While the Wisconsin Department of Transportation instructs the public to obtain a police report for any car accident that occurs in the state ($6 fee), those who are in need of one may find that they will not always be given a complete one.

Approximately 135,000 car accidents occur in Wisconsin annually, or one every 5 minutes, and upwards of 700 people are killed and about 50,000 people are injured and the cost for the state is about $2.9 billion. For each one of these accidents, a police report is filed and is supposedly available for those who have a legitimate right to it, such as the parties directly involved in an accident.

However, there has been an increasing tendency for law enforcement agencies to redact or block out information stated in police reports, including those for car accidents. A federal law protecting the right to privacy of drivers whose information may be obtained from motor vehicle registers is the basis for this policy, but it is doubtful whether the 1994 Driver’s Privacy Protection Act was meant to apply to individuals who have a right to a full car accident report for insurance and civil litigation purposes.

This redaction policy is a reaction to a lawsuit against a city in Illinois that originated from a parking ticket stuck to the windshield which contained full details regarding the owner of the vehicle, including name, address and birth date. The plaintiff claimed that this violated the DPPA law, and the case is now pending at the US Supreme Court. By withholding vital information, the law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin are hoping to avoid similar lawsuits. Ironically, a city in Wisconsin is now being sued for violating the open records law with their redaction policy.

If you are injured in a car wreck due to the negligence of others, you may find your work cut out for you in obtaining a police report you can use in a personal injury lawsuit. Retain the services of a Wisconsin car accident attorney who will have the knowledge and resources to obtain the records you need for your claim.

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Diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Posted by on Jul 2, 2013 in Cancer

Currently, no screening tests for non-Hodgkin lymphoma exist. Therefore, it’s important for patients, especially those who may display some of the risk factors such as age or weakened immune system, to watch for development of any of the following symptoms. As always, regular medical check-ups are necessary to watch for possible signs of lymphoma and seek care if they are found.

Common symptoms

  • Swollen stomach
  • Chest pain and pressure
  • Coughing and shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Tiredness or extreme fatigue

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma frequently causes lymph nodes to swell and grow to the point that one may feel them under the skin. In the abdomen, lymph nodes may enlarge and cause the stomach to feel tender and swollen. Swelling near internal organs in the abdomen can lead to pain, nausea, vomiting, and a lowered appetite. Lymphomas in the chest region can be diagnosed by lumps, or by shortness of breath, as enlarged lymph nodes press on the trachea. Lymphomas of the brain and spinal cord are some of the most difficult to diagnose, but they can cause headaches, personality changes, double vision, and facial numbness.

In addition to the specific and localized symptoms, lymphomas typically cause more general symptoms including weight loss, night sweats, and high fever. Lymphoma can also result in a low blood count, which manifests itself in the form of fatigue (anemia), bruising and bleeding, and frequent infections.

If you or a loved one develops any of these symptoms, it is a recommended you visit a doctor for a check-up. Lymphomas, along with other types of cancer, are treated much more successfully when diagnosed early.

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