According to the Current Law, California Truckers Must Take a Break After Five Hours

If you have ever tried to make an interstate road trip in a single day, you have probably experienced firsthand how difficult and dangerous it is to drive when you are tired. If it is difficult for a road-weary and sleep-deprived driver to operate a vehicle that is carrying just a few people and perhaps some suitcases, imagine how hard is to drive safely after seven or more hours on the road when the vehicle subject to your bleary-eyed decision-making skills weighs numerous tons and is carrying enough food to feed an entire city. All states, including California, have laws limiting how long truck drivers can drive without taking a break, but California has some of the strictest rules about trucking safety. The most recent version of the Federal Aviation Association reauthorization bill has upheld California’s right to impose its rules, which are stricter than federal regulations.

According to the Current Law, California Truckers Must Take a Break After Five Hours
Case Barnett Law has expertise in handling big rig and semi truck accidents in Orange County.

In the world of personal injury law, this means that trucking companies could be leaving themselves open to truck accident lawsuits if truck drivers who cause accidents turn out to have been driving in California for more than five hours without a break.

What the New Bill Means for California Trucking Safety Rules

The federal bill, House Bill 302, contains provisions to determine how often truck drivers must stop to rest, among other provisions. Currently, federal law states that the longest a driver can go without a 30-minute break is eight hours, while in California, the limit is five hours. Since the maximum length for a workday for a truck driver is 11 hours, it means that in California, truck drivers must take at least two breaks during each eleven-hour shift. FAA regulations must be revised every five years, so HB 302 will determine the rules that will be in place for the next five years.

Legal Controversies Surrounding Mandatory Rest Periods for Truck Drivers

California’s five-hour limit on driving without rest helps prevent truck accidents, but the discrepancy between the federal laws and the state laws causes confusion and sometimes lawsuits. When truck drivers from out of state reach California during their interstate trips, are they required to stop after five hours, or can they keep driving until they reach eight hours?  Currently, states can override the federal rules. Truckers from other states have followed California law, taking a break after five hours, causing them to be late for deadlines set by employers in their home states. The truckers have filed class action lawsuits against the trucking companies that employ them, demanding their right to the breaks mandated by California law.

Contact Case Barnett Law About Commercial Vehicle Accident Cases

Regardless of their state of origin, truck drivers in California must take breaks every five hours.  If you were injured in an accident caused by a truck that had been on the road in California for more than five hours, you almost certainly have grounds for a lawsuit.  Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you have been seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle.

How do Courts Quantify Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The cliché that the things that truly make your life enjoyable do not have a price tag is true. In fact, most people do not even realize how much their happiness depends on being able to walk without pain, drive without fear, or rely on the emotional support of a family member unless they have lost those things temporarily or permanently. If you have never suffered a serious injury in an accident, you might balk at the amounts that courts sometimes award to plaintiffs and assume that the plaintiffs or their attorneys are being greedy by requesting such large sums. In fact, sometimes courts use a mathematical formula to determine the amount of money to award for physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment. The amount awarded for pain and suffering in car accident lawsuits sometimes comes down to multiplying the economic damages by a certain number, depending on how much the suffering resulting from the accident has changed the plaintiff’s life.

Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Cases
Case Barnett Law understands the impact of pain and suffering in an injured person’s life.

The General Damages Multiplier

Courts and insurance companies sometimes multiply the economic damages associated with a car accident (past and future medical expenses, property damage, and past and future lost income) by a factor of anywhere from one and a half to five. The idea is that long-term physical pain and emotional suffering resulting from an accident compound the damage caused by the accident. For example, if the accident left you with a phobia of driving, whereas you once used to enjoy driving, then that could lead the court to apply a general damages multiplier. Likewise, in a wrongful death lawsuit, the more the plaintiff depended on the victim financially and emotionally, the greater the general damages multiplier. People sometimes give the example of a personal injury lawsuit settlement worth three times the amount of the medical expenses, but this is just one example.

Providing Evidence of Pain and Suffering

In order to show how much the accident disrupted your life, you must give evidence of things you used to be able to do that you can no longer do because of your injuries. For example, were you an athlete and are no longer able to play your favorite sport? Were you an accompanist for your church choir, but because of hand injuries resulting from the accident, can you no longer play the piano? Did you used to enjoy ballroom dancing with your spouse, but you can no longer participate because the accident left you with chronic pain, thus leaving your spouse without a dance partner and a valued social outlet? All of these things can factor into a court’s decision when awarding non-economic damages.

Contact Case Barnett Law About Car Accident Cases in Orange County, California 

If you have been injured in a car accident, you might feel like no one understands how much the accident has disrupted your life, but a skilled personal injury lawyer knows how to show evidence of your suffering. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you have been seriously injured in a car accident.

Multi-Vehicle Accident on I-880 Involves a Bus and a Truck

Look carefully at your driver’s license; it has an alphabetic code referring to what kinds of vehicles you are licensed to drive. Most drivers in California have a basic class C license, which allows you to drive a car, van, pickup truck, or small farm vehicle such as a tractor. Class A and class B licenses are for bigger, heavier vehicles; it requires a much greater level of skill to drive them, and thus, the licensing requirements are much stricter. Huge vehicles like trucks and buses can do a lot of damage in a collision, and thus, commercial vehicle accidents are at least as likely to cause serious injuries than traffic accidents involving simple two-axle cars.  This week, both a semi-truck and a bus were involved in a multi-vehicle collision on I-880 in California, leading to two fatalities.

Multi-Vehicle Accident
Case Barnett Law represents victims in car, semi truck, big rig and bus accident lawsuits.

Tour Bus Collides with Two Cars and a Truck on I-880

On the evening of Tuesday, October 30, 2018, a tour bus traveling on I-880 near the border of Hayward and Union City, failed to slow down in time when it ran into stop and go traffic, and it rear-ended the car in front of it. This led to a multi-vehicle collision, in which the bus also hit another car, causing it to collide with a nearby semi-truck. The drivers of both cars were killed, and the driver of the truck was taken to the hospital to be treated for neck pain. The bus driver was not injured, and there were no passengers in the bus at the time of the accident.

Legal Issues That Arise from Multi-Vehicle Accidents 

News outlets have not reported on any legal actions arising from the collision. Based on published descriptions of the accident, it sounds like most of the fault for the accident belongs to the driver of the tour bus. Thus, the families of the drivers killed in the accident may have a case for a wrongful death claim against the bus company. If it is determined that the condition of the roads made it impossible for the bus driver to stop in time to avoid hitting the cars, there could be grounds for a premises liability suit against the county or state. News reports have not provided information on the severity of the truck driver’s injuries, but he might also have a claim against the bus company. The trucking company is legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which will likely bear the cost of treatment for the truck driver’s injuries and for compensating him for any time that he must miss work because of the accident.

Contact Case Barnett Law About Commercial Vehicle Accident Cases

Failure to observe the highest safety standards when operating a commercial vehicle such as a bus or truck can have disastrous results. People injured in commercial vehicle accidents are often entitled to compensation. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you have been seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle.

29-Year-Old Woman Gives Birth After Being Raped in Nursing Home

When I read the recent news about a 29-year-old woman who gave birth after being raped in a nursing home I was filled with rage. Chills shot up my spine and hot anger filled my body. Then, I remembered, THIS…. THIS is why we do what we do.

KABC Los Angeles just released this video detailing the incident.

Woman Gives Birth After Being Raped in Nursing Home
Woman Gives Birth After Being Raped in Nursing Home

The young victim had been at the nursing facility for more than 14 years after she suffered a near-drowning incident that left her in a vegetative state. According to news reports  the staff did not know that the victim was pregnant until she went into labor and began moaning.

The Arizona Department of Health says they are actively working with local law enforcement in their criminal investigation. Additionally, Adult Protective Services are conducting health and safety checks on all current residents of the nursing home.

It will be interesting to see what surfaces as the investigation of this nursing home moves forward. We will learn if past complaints have been filed and we will see if there are other victims. Perhaps what will be the most shocking, is if we learn that staffers knew about patients who were being abused but did nothing about it. Sadly, this is a very likely possibility and one that we see in both nursing home abuse cases and sexual assault cases in schools and churches.

Mandated Reporting Laws for Nurses, Doctors and Teachers

Many groups of professionals are mandated reporters. Teachers, doctors, and nurses fall into these groups. According to CPH & Associates, “Nurses are listed in most, if not all, mandatory reporting statutes.  Statutes include child abuse and neglect reporting statutes, medical neglect of children and the elderly, elder abuse in the community or in nursing homes reporting laws, and domestic violence.” This means that both the nursing home and its individual employees may be on the hook in this case. Both for a criminal lawsuit and a civil lawsuit.

Part of being a mandated reporter means that there are steps you MUST take if you suspect one of your patients is being abused or neglected. CPH & Associates lists the criteria found below:

  • Watch, look and listen to your patient.  Gather as much information as you can about the patient’s concerns;
  • Assess the patient constantly for any signs of physical abuse, mental anguish, fear, financial abuse or unusual behavior;
  • Document your observations and conversations pursuant to your facility or agency’s policy and if forms are required, use them;
  • Share your concerns with the individual identified in your facility or agency policy to do so (e.g., CNO, Administrator, Risk Manager);
  • Visit websites in your state that deal with reporting abuse and neglect to obtain guidance, especially in the event your concerns are not supported by your agency or facility; most have direct hot-lines for you to report your concerns without any agency support;
  • Consult with a nurse attorney or attorney to help guide you with the reporting, especially if you are not supported by your employer;
  • If you are in home health nursing, in the ED, or in a long-term facility, and you or your patient is threatened, either of your lives are at risk, or injury is a possibility, call security (if available) and 9-11; and

If this is the industry standard and nursing homes are built to take care of our loved ones how, then, did this pregnancy go unnoticed? The story is one we, as attorneys who sue nursing homes, hear all too often and it goes like this…

Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes and Skilled Nursing Facilities

Nursing homes and other facilities that care for the elderly or vulnerable commonly save money by hiring cheap, inexperienced nursing assistants (and usually not enough of them). These are the ones that the facility only puts out during the night shifts to hide them from the families of the patients. The facilities do little to investigate their backgrounds and provide even less monitoring.

Nursing assistants are an easy way for facilities to save money because there are no state regulations for the minimum number of nursing assistants to provide safe patient care. Nursing assistants do not have nearly the same amount of training or patient care skills as RN’s or LVN’s. In California, one need only complete a training program that consists of 50 hours of classroom instruction and 100 hours of supervised clinical training.

Nursing assistants typically are tasked with repositioning patients in order to prevent bedsores. The state sets mandatory minimums for nurses per patient per shift. Not so with CNA’s. Facilities will use an insufficient number of CNA’s to save money. When there are not enough CNA’s, patients miss out on basic needs like being repositioned. Not being repositioned leads to bedsores. CNA’s are commonly also responsible for changing a patients diaper and for toileting of patients. Again, not enough CNA’s means that patients are left in their own filth for prolonged periods of time. All in the name of corporate profit.

Leaving CNA’s unsupervised with our most vulnerable populations is dangerous. Many facilities for the elderly and vulnerable just don’t care enough to hire the right people to provide safe care. They only care about how much money they can cram into their coffers.

How Do We Protect Our Loved Ones in Nursing Homes?

Often, people think of Nursing Homes as places for the elderly only. As you can see from this incident, nursing homes are for anyone who needs nursing care. These are the places we are supposed to trust. We are supposed to be safe here. We put our loved ones in Nursing Homes when they need a level of care we can’t provide for them at home.

These facilities have a DUTY to care of their patients. Instead, their main focus in on making as much money as possible. Even if it means death, abuse, neglect and sickness in their facility.

The young woman in this story is the victim of a flawed system that, all too often, abuses the most vulnerable members of our society.  She was completely unable to defend herself  and after the rape she had no way to communicate that she was pregnant.

The victim in this situation required around the clock care and many people had access to her. How, then, is it possible that NOT A SINGLE PERSON noticed that she was pregnant? How was there no one who suspected abuse within the walls of this hell?

It is important to research any facility that you plan on placing your loved one in. We have written a comprehensive legal guide, The California Survival Guide to Finding a Nursing Home for Your Loved One: 7 Ways to Ensure That You Choose the Right Facility. A free download is available on our website.
Finding a Nursing Home for Your Loved One: 7 Ways to Ensure That You Choose the Right Facility
Finding a Nursing Home for Your Loved One: 7 Ways to Ensure That You Choose the Right Facility

If you or a loved one have been injured, neglected or abused in a California nursing home or skilled nursing facility, Case Barnett Law can help. Call us today at (949) 861-2990 or contact us here. 

 

Families of Two Victims Sue California Trucking Company After Greyhound Bus Accident

In a car accident involving two personal vehicles, insurance companies assign fault to the driver of one of the vehicles. If someone in the other vehicle was injured, and the settlement amount offered by the insurance company is not sufficient to pay the injured party’s medical expenses, the injured person can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who was at fault. The plaintiff can recover damages in the legal case if the court determines that the plaintiff’s injuries are the direct result of negligence on the part of the defendant. When the driver at fault was driving a commercial vehicle, however, the defendant named in the lawsuit is often the company that owns the vehicle.  Of course, it is possible that the true cause of the accident was something other than a driver’s negligence, for example, an unsafe road or one with inadequate signage to warn drivers of hazards. If you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, the best thing to do is to contact a personal injury attorney who deals with commercial vehicle accident lawsuits.

California Trucking Company Named as Defendant in Lawsuit After Highway Accident

On August 31, 2018, a semi truck on the interstate near Albuquerque, New Mexico experienced a tire failure and collided with a Greyhound bus, killing eight of the 49 people on the bus, including the driver. The truck was transporting produce from Fresno, California to Memphis, Tennessee, while the bus had stopped in Albuquerque on its way from St. Louis to Los Angeles.  One of the surviving passengers gave birth to twins the day after the accident.

The families of two of the victims, one from Arizona and the other from Ohio, sued the California-based company that owns the semi truck whose faulty tires caused the accident. In order to determine the details of what went wrong with the truck in the moments before its tire blew out, officials are trying to find a recording device in the truck that might give some indication. While airplanes have a “black box” for just this purpose, commercial trucks usually do not.

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Orange County Bus Accident Attorneys | Case Barnett Law | 949.861.2990

Failure to Maintain a Safe Vehicle Constitutes Negligence

It is likely that the plaintiffs have a strong case against the trucking company. Federal and state regulations have strict safety requirements for trucks and truck drivers. They limit truck drivers’ daily and weekly work hours and require drivers to take breaks during the workday. They also require frequent inspections of various parts of the truck, including its tires. If it is determined that the driver did not inspect his tires when required, or that he inspected them but failed to repair the unsafe tire, the trucking company will be required to pay damages to the plaintiffs’ families.

Bus Accidents in Orange County

In California, personal injury attorneys see a number of bus accident types, including:

  • School bus accidents. These accidents are one of the most difficult types of bus accident cases that attorneys handle, as they often involve young children who were injured or killed.
  • Municipal transit bus accidents. Public transportation is an inexpensive way to get around, but when cities fail to maintain their buses or employ poorly trained drivers, accidents and injuries can be the result.
  • Freight bus accidents. These commercial vehicles are designed to carry cargo but, when overloaded, they have the potential to become unpredictable and dangerous.
  • Private, commercial, or charter bus accidents. Buses hired for tours, parties, and other excursions can be just as dangerous as public buses when improperly maintained or operated.

When passengers step onto a bus, they have every right to assume that it is being maintained and operated in accordance with federal safety regulation—regardless of whether the bus in question is a school bus, city bus, freight bus, or party bus.

Other common bus accident case types include:

  • Bus-car collisions
  • Bus-motorcycle crashes
  • Bus-bus wrecks
  • Bus-pedestrian accidents
  • Bus breakdown injuries

Common Causes of Bus Accidents

Thanks to human error and poor driving practices, when buses and other vehicles share the road, accidents are bound to happen. Unfortunately, many bus accidents could have been avoided had the bus’s owner or driver taken the proper safety or maintenance precautions. Some of the most common bus accident causes related to bus owner or driver error include:

  • Drunk or drugged driving. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can slow a driver’s reaction time and put everyone on the road at risk.
  • Drowsy driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits commercial drivers to 11 hours of driving time per day to prevent fatigue, which can be as impairing as consuming alcohol.
  • Distracted driving. Bus drivers may drive for a living, but they are just as susceptible to distractions like talking or texting on their cell phone, eating or drinking, or using a navigational system as the average motorist.
  • Inadequate bus maintenance. Even though the FMCSA requires commercial bus drivers to inspect the vehicle regularly and make repairs in a timely fashion, it does not always happen.
  • Operating the bus during dangerous weather conditions. Even well-trained and experienced commercial bus drivers are wise to wait for severely inclement weather to pass.

Injuries Associated With Bus Accidents

Buses lack many of the safety features—such as seat belts and airbags—found in personal passenger vehicles. When a bus accident does occur—the injuries can be potentially devastating. Common injuries associated with bus accidents include:

  • Whiplash injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Amputations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Head trauma, such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Death

Damages Available for Bus Accident Victims

Bus accident victims who were injured through no fault of their own can pursue compensation for a wide variety of economic and non-economic damages related to the crash. Available damages may include compensation for:

  • Medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident
  • Ongoing medical treatment for accident-related injuries
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Wages lost while recovering from injuries
  • Loss of earning potential if the injuries are permanently disabling
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Criteria for Hiring an Attorney

It is wise to consult an attorney after being injured in an accident involving large commercial vehicles, such as a bus. This is because these types of accidents have the potential to cause extensive physical injuries and property damage. If the following statements apply to your case, it might be time to talk with an attorney:

  • The bus accident happened less than 18 months ago.
  • Medical expenses, property damage costs, and lost wages total more than $2,000.
  • Another person’s negligence caused the accident.
  • If you were driving a vehicle (rather than riding on the bus), it sustained notable damage in the accident.
  • You went to the hospital or saw a doctor immediately following the bus accident.
  • You have seen your doctor regularly since the accident and followed all of his recommendations for treatment.
  • Your injuries included broken bones or required surgery.
  • The at-fault party has insurance.

Understanding Your Options: Settlement Versus Courtroom Trial

If you were injured in a bus accident that wasn’t your fault, Case Barnett Law is prepared to do whatever is needed to ensure you receive the largest settlement possible—regardless of whether that is achieved during a vigorous negotiations process or by taking your case all the way to court. A courtroom trial can be lengthy, expensive, and stressful, but sometimes it is the only way to get victims the justice—and the compensation—they deserve. Here at Case Barnett, we will never push you to accept a settlement that isn’t in your best interest to avoid going to trial.

Do you have questions about your bus accident case? Contact Case Barnett Law to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.

Contact Case Barnett Law About Commercial Vehicle Accident Cases

Commercial vehicle companies are required by law to uphold high standards of safety for their vehicles; to do otherwise is negligence. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you have been seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle.

Who is Liable in a Personal Injury Case?

You have probably seen co-workers and party guests show up at work and parties, respectively, sporting bandages, and then proceed to tell stories about the freak accident that resulted in the injury. Freak accident stories are quite entertaining, as long as the injury is minor, and the weirder the circumstances of the accident, the better. Sprained your finger lifting a baby out of a bouncy seat? Priceless! Bit your tongue in a tragic singing accident and had to get four stitches?  Dinner party anecdote gold! Caught 20 crabs in a single fishing trip, and the smallest one pinched your thumb as you threw them into the pot to cook them? You will be a local legend!

Orange County Personal Injury Attorney | Case Barnett Law Premises Liability Lawyer On the other hand, accidents that are serious enough to get you admitted to the hospital or keep you out of work for an extended period are not simply harmless fodder for shooting the breeze.  It is important to find out if any of the circumstances that led to the accident could have been prevented because any party that ought to have prevented the accident could be a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.

A Personal Injury Lawyer can Help You Determine Who is Liable

Imagine that you are finishing a canoeing trip with friends. You are getting out of the canoe, when it capsizes. As it overturns, you get injured when you crash into a post sticking slightly out of the water, part of a broken dock, which you could not see when you went to get out of the canoe.  It is a freak accident, to be sure, but was it anyone’s fault? Do you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, such that the liable party could be required to compensate you for your medical expenses? Is the owner of the dock liable for letting the dock fall into disrepair, such that the post caused your injury? If so, it is a premises liability lawsuit. Did the canoe manufacturer fail to make the canoe stable enough? If so, it is a product liability lawsuit. Did the friend who was in the canoe with you when it capsized fail to stabilize the canoe? A personal injury lawyer can help you parse which parties had which responsibility to prevent the accident and determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.

Why File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If you were injured in a preventable accident, a personal injury lawsuit can help you get compensation for medical expenses and lost income related to injuries suffered in the accident.  If it is a product liability lawsuit, a successful lawsuit could also lead to stricter safety regulations about the product.

Contact Case Barnett Law About Personal Injury Cases

Discussing your accident with a personal injury lawyer could be your first step to recovering financially from a serious injury. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you have been seriously injured in an accident and think that you might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.

Safety Tips to Avoid Electrocution Accidents

In small doses, electric shocks do not cause injury; curious minds might even find them intriguing. If a car door gives you a mild electrical shock when you go to close it, it does not hurt very much. Electricity is also the reason that the Van de Graaff generator is one of the most popular exhibits at any children’s science museum. In higher amounts, though, electric shocks can cause serious injury or even be fatal. When electrocution accidents are caused by dangerous conditions in workplaces and other public places, the property owner may be legally liable for causing the accident. In fact, many electrocution accidents can be avoided if workers and employers exercise proper caution and follow safety protocols.

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Electrical Hazards at Work

In the United States, about 4,000 people suffer injuries because of electrical hazards in the workplace each year. About 300 people per year die from electrocution accidents at work.

Electric shocks are not the only type of accident that can result from electrical hazards in the workplace. They can also cause fires and explosions.

Electrical Accidents are Preventable

Many electrical accidents can be prevented if employers make efforts to keep electrical equipment safe and high voltage areas isolated and if workers are careful with electricity. Here are some ways to avoid electrical accidents:

  • Workplaces should display signs warning workers and visitors of electrical hazards.
  • Hurrying is a major cause of workplace electrocution accidents. Workers should not rush to finish their work quickly when working with electricity. Likewise, employers should not put time pressure on workers when they are working in the presence of electrical hazards.
  • Proper safety training is key when there are electrical hazards in the workplace. In some occupations that require working with dangerous levels of electricity, knowledge of electricity safety protocols is part of the requirements for certification. Even for workers who are knowledgeable about electrical hazard safety, and especially for those who have not gone through a certification process that requires safety standards but who may be working in hazardous areas, ongoing training about electrical hazards and proper safety measures is key.
  • Anyone who might be exposed to high levels of electricity, whether a worker or a visitor, should wear proper protective gear.
  • Turn off all electrical equipment before a person touches it, for example, to clean it. If possible, you should wait a few minutes after turning it off and before touching it.
  • Because aluminum is a conductor or electricity, you should not use aluminum ladders near electrical wires or electrical equipment. Instead, use a fiberglass ladder, since fiberglass is an insulator.
  • If you will be using electrical equipment, make sure that the area is dry. Do not use electrical equipment near water, since water can conduct electricity.

Contact Case Barnett About Electrocution Accidents

If you have been injured in an accident involving electrical hazards, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California for a consultation about your case.

Treatments for Spinal Cord Injuries are Promising but Expensive

In 1995, Christopher Reeve, the actor who had played Superman in several movies, was injured in a horseback riding accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. The world was shocked to see the once-athletic Reeve confined to a wheelchair, but he made many public appearances after his catastrophic spinal cord injury. He spent the rest of his life raising awareness about the need for research for new treatments for spinal cord injuries, and after his death in 2004, his widow Dana continued her husband’s campaign. Spinal cord injuries are devastating; even a celebrity as wealthy as Reeve could not pay to restore his ability to walk.  Research on the treatment of spinal cord injury is ongoing, however, and in the last few years, medical scientists have been at work on developing promising new treatments to repair damaged nerve tissue and to find other means to restore the function of the limbs of people with spinal cord injuries. Currently, though, as with many complex medical problems, the most effective treatments are beyond the financial means of most people.

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New Horizons in Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Research

Currently, no treatments exist that can restore people with severe spinal cord injuries to their former state of health before the injury. Many treatments exist, though, and research continues to find a cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury. Here are some of the most promising current research trends.

  • Neuroregeneration: Most of the cells in the body, including the axons (an appendage of nerve cells) of the peripheral nervous system, can regenerate themselves, but the axons of the brain and spinal cord cannot. Research aims to treat the injured spinal cord with antibodies that target myelin, a coating on the axons of the spinal cord that prevents the axons from regenerating. The goal is to enable the spinal cord to repair itself, restoring sensation and voluntary movement.
  • Stem cell transplants: Stem cells can differentiate to become cells of the various tissues of the body. Research aims to transplant stem cells to the spinal cord and enable them to regenerate functional spinal cord tissue.  Embryonic stem cells show promise in this regard, but because of the ethical concerns surrounding their use, researchers are also experimenting with transplants of stem cells that are present in adults, such as neural stem cells (which become nerve cells), mesenchymal stem cells (which naturally differentiate into bone, muscle, and fat) and induced pluripotent stem cells (adult stem cells that have been altered so that they can function like embryonic stem cells, which can differentiate into virtually any type of cell).
  • Medical devices: While not actually repairing the spinal cord, devices such as exoskeletons and brain-computer interfaces may help people with spinal cord injuries regain the use of their limbs.

Contact Case Barnett About Spinal Cord Injury Cases

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, being able to pay for treatment can save your life or vastly improve its quality. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.

Who is Liable When the Cause of Your Injuries is a Car Airbag?

Car airbags prevent many more serious injuries than they cause. The purpose of this post is not to make you cagey about riding in a car with airbags. The clickbait industry thrives on fear; there is an entire genre of articles that deal in variations on the theme of “Is your [insert name of harmless product that you use every day] endangering you?” This is not one of those articles; airbags make cars safer in the event of a car accident, not more dangerous. It is possible for airbags to cause injury, though, when they malfunction and even sometimes just by doing what they were designed to do. If you were injured in an incident involving a car airbag, you should contact a personal injury lawyer, just as you should for any other accident that results in injuries.  Depending on the nature of the accident, it could be just another car accident lawsuit, or you might have grounds for a product liability lawsuit.

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How Airbags Work

Airbags are fabric bags concealed within the steering wheel, door, or other structures of the car.  They contain an impact sensor and inflation mechanism, so that they can inflate quickly in a collision and then deflate slowly. They first became widespread in the 1980s; originally, they only protected drivers in front impact collisions; thus, they were less effective in minimizing injury during side impact crashes and could not protect passengers besides the driver. By contrast, many 2018 models of cars have six airbags or more.

While airbags can reduce injury by cushioning impact and acting as a restraint, the mere presence of airbags in your car does not mean that you will walk away from the accident without a scratch. The rapid inflation means that the airbags themselves can cause minor injuries such as bruises, even when they work ideally. If you get injured in a car accident despite the car’s airbags functioning as they should, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the driver whose negligence caused the accident.

When Airbags Malfunction, it Could be Product Liability

In a product liability lawsuit, the injured party sues the manufacturer of the defective product that caused the injury.  If your injuries were caused directly by a malfunctioning airbag, or if your injuries are more serious than they would have been if the airbag had worked properly, you might have grounds for a product liability lawsuit. These are some ways in which airbags have caused or worsened injuries in car accidents:

  • The airbag failed to inflate.
  • The airbag exploded, causing shrapnel to injure the plaintiff.

Airbags are designed for adults. If the airbag inflates when a child is in the passenger seat, it might injure the child because of the child’s height relative to the airbag. For this reason, children should never ride in the front seat until the meet the age and height requirement for doing so.

Contact Case Barnett About Car Accident Injuries

Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you have been injured in a car accident in which airbags inflate.

What California Women Should Know About Essure Lawsuits

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 11.10.25 AMWhen Essure first debuted on the market in 2002, the media hailed it as the least invasive form of permanent birth control possible. Until Essure became available, the only option for permanent contraception was tubal ligation, which can only be done through an invasive surgery.  Of course, some women who underwent treatment with Essure went on to experience complications ranging from pain to damage to internal organs. In California, as in other states, people who suffered injuries as a result of Essure have filed product liability lawsuits against Bayer, the company that makes Essure.

What is Essure, and How Does it Work?

Essure is an insert made of polyester fibers, nickel, and titanium, surrounded by coils. When inserted into the fallopian tubes, it causes fibrosis, leading to blockage of the tubes and therefore preventing pregnancy. Unlike tubal ligation, which must be done in a hospital and with general anesthesia, Essure is a much simpler procedure, not much different from inserting an intrauterine device (IUD). Promotional materials for Essure claimed that it only takes seven minutes to insert the device, and the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis, by the same OB/GYN doctors women see for all concerns related to reproductive health. The effects of Essure are permanent; removing the device and reversing its contraceptive effects is more complicated than reversing a tubal ligation. At least in theory, the only way a woman who has undergone Essure treatment can become pregnant is through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Product Liability Lawsuits Related to Essure

Many women who had had Essure devices inserted experienced complications. For example, some women required hysterectomies because of severe bleeding and pain. In other cases, the devices became dislodged from the patients’ fallopian tubes and damaged other organs. The lawsuits related to Essure are product liability lawsuits against Bayer. In other words, the plaintiffs’ injuries are the result of Bayer’s negligence in manufacturing and in marketing the device. They are not medical malpractice lawsuits because the physicians who inserted Essure were installing it in the safest possible way and made sure that the patients were good candidates to use Essure rather than other forms of birth control.

Bayer has received several citations from the FDA because of adverse events related to Essure.  For example, it has been cited for having Essure made in unlicensed factories and with unapproved materials. Since November 2016, the FDA has required that Essure bear a black box warning detailing the risks associated with the device. Since April 2018, doctors who prescribe Essure must first go through a checklist of questions and warnings with patients before they insert Essure.

Contact Case Barnett About Product Liability Cases

If you have been injured as a result of Essure or another medical device, you could have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. You could receive compensation for your medical expenses and lost income. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California to discuss your case.