Author Archives: Morrison Wagner

Data shows increased incidence of deaths from accident injuries

The recent release of data on the causes of death in the United States shows some disturbing statistics regarding fatal accidents. The study by the National Safety Council (NSC) showed yet another significant increase in car crashes with life-threatening injuries. Public safety specialists express concern regarding this, in light of the efforts to increase design safety of motor vehicles and roads as well as safe driving campaigns. Modern cars and trucks have advanced technology seat belts and airbags as well as safety sensors throughout the vehicle. Further analysis is needed but some wrongful death experts believe that the noted increase in serious injuries is due to distracted driver accidents. They blame this on the increased technology devices distracting drivers, such as driving while texting, talking on a cell phone while driving and even people who read and post to Twitter and Facebook while operating a motor vehicle. They also note that some drivers don’t take their responsibility seriously while they eat, read or speed instead of concentrating on the road. Several other causes of accidental injuries that commonly lead to death were identified by the council. These include slip and fall, drowning and overdose accidents. If you or someone you know has suffered a preventable accident due to someone’s possible negligence, you have the right to speak to an expert accident attorney to discuss your case. You can also find out more about the NSC study here.

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Statistics show more injuries from certain vehicle models involved in a crash

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) compiles data on car accidents, injuries, accident-related death as well as financial losses from a collision.  Their research shows that some particular models of cars and trucks are more likely to result in personal injury of the driver or passengers. According to a recent report on vehicles manufactured between 2014 and 2016, the smaller and lighter cars are more likely to result in crash injuries or death compared to larger and heavier vehicles. Note is made that despite advances in safety design, additional airbags and other innovations, many vehicles still leave occupants at greater than average risk for injury when a motor vehicle collision occurs. Watch groups work to pressure vehicle manufacturers and designers to produce safer cars and trucks in hopes of preventing people from getting hurt in an accident or even worse. However, some say that corporate profits often take precedence, leaving the average citizen at risk for injury or death. They believe that expensive safety features are left out in order to maximize sales and profits, leading to a dangerous situation. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, you can speak to an expert accident attorney for advice and to find out your rights. See this article for more about the vehicles that may leave you more vulnerable to wounds during a car crash.

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$ 1,270,000 Jury Verdict For Nurse Whose Vehicle Was Broadsided

New York – Ms. E. H., a nurse, suffered injuries to her left shoulder and knee as well as her neck and back in a motor vehicle crash. The car accident occurred when another car broadsided the victim’s car on Strickland Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. H. consulted with expert car accident attorney Stuart Wagner and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the other vehicle. After going to trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff a verdict of $1,270,000 to compensate her for pain and suffering as well as loss of earnings.

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JURY RETURNS verdict $1,270,000 for Plaintiff (as reported in the New York Jury Verdict Reporter)

Jury Verdict: $1,270,000

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Court: Kings Civil, Kings County, New York

Injury Type(s): rotator cuff, injury (tear); shoulder; epidural injections; physical therapy; medial meniscus, tear; lateral meniscus, tear; herniated disc, cervical; herniated disc, lumbar; lower back; back and neck; neck; back; numbness; percutaneous discectomy; radicular pain / radiculitis; decreased range of motion

Case Type: Left Turn — Motor Vehicle Accident — Broadside — Motor Vehicle Crash — Verbal Threshold

Date: 10/20/2017

Plaintiff Attorney(s):
Stuart Wagner; Morrison & Wagner, LLP; New York, NY

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Facts & Allegations:
Around 7:15 a.m. on Aug 15, 2013, plaintiff E. H., 40, a licensed practical nurse, was operating her vehicle on Strickland Avenue in Brooklyn, when her vehicle was broadsided by a vehicle that was operated by J. L., the defendant, who made a left turn from East 59th Place. As a result of the impact, The plaintiff’s vehicle continued on and struck two parked vehicles on the side of the road.

The plaintiff claimed injuries to her left non-dominant shoulder, left knee, neck and back. The plaintiff sued the defendant. The plaintiff contended that the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. This was a summary jury trial.

Just prior to jury selection, defense conceded liability. The parameters of the case were $25,000 to the $300,000 insurance policy limits.

Injuries/Damages
The plaintiff drove herself from the scene of the accident to Kings County Hospital. She complained of pain to her chest, neck and back. X-rays were taken of her chest, neck and back, which were negative. She was given painkillers and ibuprofen and was told to follow up with her primary care physician before she was discharged home. The plaintiff claimed she sustained a rotator cuff tear to her left shoulder, a partial thickness surface tear of the infraspinatus muscle, tears of the medial and lateral menisci of her left knee and several herniations at the cervical and lumbar levels.

For treatment, the plaintiff began physical therapy on Aug. 19, 2013 through January 15, 2014, with 46 visits over five months. She later consulted with an orthopedic surgeon. She then went to a pain management physician and had painkillers prescribed, as well as injections to her knee on Sept. 6, 2016. She again had epidural injections to her left knee on Nov. 5, 2016. On Dec. 14, 2016, the plaintiff had bilateral L4-5 epidural injections to her lower back. She still complained of lower back pain and numbness and tingling radiating into both her legs. She then had a percutaneous discectomy at L4-5 with steroid injections, as well as nerve blocks at C5-6 and C6-7. She did not have any shoulder surgery. The plaintiff claims she still has weakness in her shoulder and her knees, a limited range of motion for her shoulder and knees, and that she has difficulty bending, lifting, climbing stairs and tending to her patients. The plaintiff had two part-time jobs. She was an LPN at a private group, a senior living center, where she would supervise other nurses who made house calls. Her other job was at a home health care service. She was not able to work at the senior center from the date of the accident until Dec. 1, 2013. For her other job, she was out on disability from the date of the accident until Nov. 8, 2013. The plaintiff claimed she was unable to do the physical labor involved as a home health nurse, and that accordingly, her position was replaced by someone else. The plaintiff sought recovery for her past and future loss of earnings and her past and future pain and suffering.

Defense contended that the plaintiff alleged injuries were not related to the subject accident. Defense contended that just prior to the subject accident, on July 31, 2016, she presented to Kingsbrook General Hospital when she missed a step and fell, injuring her left knee. Defense contended that her complaints were attributable to that previous fall and not the subject accident. Defense contended that the plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing, and age and job related, due to the physical nature of working with patients as a home health nurse. Defense contended that if she sustained any injury from the subject accident, that they had resolved and the plaintiff could go back to her regular activities, including working. Defense’s orthopedic surgeon’s records indicated that there was no evidence of orthopedic disability after he examined her shoulder and both her knees.

Result
The jury found that the plaintiff sustained a significant limitation of use of a body function or system, that she sustained a permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system and that she sustained a permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member for 90 out of 180 days. The jury awarded the plaintiff $1.27 million. In accordance with the parties’ parameters on the policy limits, the plaintiff will receive the $300,000 from the insurance company.

$270,000 past lost earnings
$100,000 past pain and suffering
$100,000 future pain & suffering (over 10 years)
$800,000 future lost earnings (over 20 years)
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$1,270,000 plaintiff’s total award

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Judge: Judge Michael Gerstein

How common are medical errors and are they being taken seriously?

Repeat studies on medical malpractice show that medical errors are common and serious. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine the accurate incidence of medical malpractice that causes death due to record keeping and statistics issues. However, according to experts, if medical errors were tracked properly, it may be the third most common cause of death in the United States. Cases of medical mistakes occur in regular hospital rooms, the ICU, the emergency and operating room just as often as in an outpatient doctor’s office, according to specialists. Of note, laboratory errors are also too common with inexperienced technicians and outdated equipment with negligent maintenance sometimes to blame. The high incidence of malpractice death has healthcare safety advocates very concerned. A New York City medical malpractice lawyer notes that this cause of death is all too often swept under the rug. Hospitals, doctors and other health providers sometimes cover up for their mistakes to prevent taking blame for medical injury or death. Other times, they may not have caught their blunder or innacuracy that could have led to a wrongful death or patient harm. Activists in this area point out that intensive scrutiny is often necessary to understand exactly what transpired. This can require medical expert witnesses examining the case and trying to determine if proper medical protocol was followed or if anything was missed. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can cause just as much of a problem as dispensing the wrong medication or overdose of a correct medicine. Experts say that other common medical malpractice events take the form of birth injury, negligent medical advice and failure to treat. Surgical error can include surgery on the wrong side of the body or the wrong surgery altogether. However, sometimes less obvious can be a surgeon who slips and perforates an organ. You can read more about the issue of surgical and medical errors here.

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New York City subway accident injures worker

New York – Wednesday’s subway train collision occurred on the tracks that run between Queens and Manhattan. The train accident involved two trains that were apparently not carrying any passengers. Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers were aboard the subways at the time of the crash and at least one worker was injured as a result. One report shows that the trains involved in the collision were actually work trains, carrying workmen, supplies and tools. The workers were down there doing repair and construction work on the line according to union officials. However, it is still unknown what caused the work accident. That cause is under investigation by transportation safety officials but has many riders concerned. The heavy traffic and speeding trains in the system that was designed so long ago is a recipe for disaster according to some watch groups. They note that negligent maintenance and delayed repairs are all too common, placing the public at risk for injury and death. These problems, some say, are the root cause of the plethora of subway injuries and accidents in the city. Safety advocates are demanding further evaluation of the safety of the mass transit system, with an eye on specific known problem areas. These include lines with prior collisions, near misses and heavy traffic as well as dangerous curves. In addition, slip and fall hazards, platforms and stairs that have a history of trip and fall injury as well as areas of increased smoke and fumes build-up should be evaluated and corrected. You can see more about last week’s work train accident here.

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New York-bound train accident leads to massive derailment

Officials from New Jersey Transit reported that a CSX freight train derailed on its way toward New York this past week. The train was 141 cars long and travelling an unknown speed when the crash occurred, derailing some 21 of the train cars. If the train was speeding or there was an equipment failure it may explain why it derailed. Emergency responders rushed to the accident scene expecting countless injuries. However, responders explain that the train was luckily empty. The only accident victims were the train engineer and conductor, both of which did not require emergency treatment according to reports. Accident specialists note that some accident injuries don’t appear immediately and the two workers are advised to be evaluated by their doctors. They explain that some wounds, such as neck and back injuries due to bulging or herniated disc, may show themselves over the days following this type of crash.

An unrelated train accident in Valhalla, Westchester left a teenager dead, according to police. The 15-year-old girl was hit by the train while she was walking on the train tracks. That accident is thought to be a suicide but investigators are continuing to look into how she was able to get onto the tracks. In addition, they are investigating whether all safety precautions were being followed on the train as well as in the area of the dangerous railroad crossing. You can see more about that deadly accident here.

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Downtown Manhattan scaffold accident traps and injures five pedestrians

New York – High winds swept through the city, causing a construction scaffolding collapse. The fallen scaffold debris crashed down onto five pedestrians who were walking along the sidewalk below. Two of the construction accident victims were trapped and needed to be extricated by bystanders and emergency responders. All of the injury victims were treated and taken to local New York City hospitals for evaluation and treatment. Reported injuries ranged from a head injury to broken bones to a leg injury and possible spinal injury. Outraged community leaders have pointed out that scaffold accidents and injuries should be prevented by forcing building owners and construction companies to remove unnecessary and dangerous equipment. They note that many scaffoldings have been sitting around for many years despite no active work being done on the building above. They warn that leaving these structures, that by nature are supposed to be temporary, is a dangerous practice and leaves a hazardous condition for bystanders. Authorities with the building department explain that current laws and ordinances require owners to inspect their scaffolds every day but some activists doubt that this is actually done. They feel that owners and employers are guilty of negligence that leads to such work accidents. They demand that the city inspectors deal with this problem to prevent further injury or wrongful death, claiming that ignoring the problem is also negligent. See this article for more on this scaffolding pedestrian accident.

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Pedestrian hit by a car, killed in Union Square in New York City crash

New York – A hit-and-run accident left the pedestrian victim dead according to hospital officials. The man was crossing the street within a marked crosswalk but was struck by a vehicle and then dragged down the street. The vehicle, identified as a Jeep, was being driven by an unknown driver in a reckless manner according to witnesses. The driver was speeding and made a quick left turn, hitting the pedestrian and then pulling him under the car. The victim was left with severe injuries and he was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and paramedics. Doctors attempted to resuscitate the injured man to no avail and were forced to pronounce him dead. Investigation into the cause of the pedestrian accident show that the man had just left work when he was crossing the street to head home. The reckless driver fled the scene of the accident despite having caused obvious injuries according to evidence from the scene. Police have located the vehicle but are still looking for the hit-and-run driver. Investigators believe that the driver may live in Brooklyn. They note that he was driving a rental car. The driver will likely face a slew of charges and lawsuits, both criminal and civil. He may face a wrongful death lawsuit when located but an accident attorney explained that the owner and insurer of the Jeep Renegade may also be included in any lawsuits. For more about this fatal car accident, please see this article.

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Famous musician injured while working at a Midtown Manhattan concert

New York – The famous rock star musician, Marilyn Manson, was visiting NYC and performing a concert in a large concert ballroom when an object fell and hit him. The injured Manson explained that he suffered a head injury as well as a leg injury during the accident. Organizers say that the injuries occurred when a large, heavy stage prop fell from an unknown height onto the man below. He then fell backward onto the ground and possibly hit his head at that point. There is no indication whether or not Mr. Manson lost consciousness. The prop had been suspended by workers before the show onto a tall metal scaffolding column but then fell over and collapsed during the concert. He suffered broken bones from the falling object, including a fracture of his fibula in his leg, and required surgery. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance and stabilized in the emergency room before being taken to the operating room. Hospital surgeons had to repair the leg fracture with metal hardware, leaving him disabled from the accident and unable to work. Representatives for the musician noted that he will undergo additional medical treatment such as physical therapy and possibly occupational therapy. They hope that he will be able to return to work despite having had to postpone many upcoming concerts. Further details about this fall injury are available here.

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Stolen car involved in multiple vehicle car crash in Brooklyn

New York – The Belt Parkway in Brooklyn was the scene of a serious car accident involving three vehicles this week. Police believe that the collision began with a stolen SUV speeding down the highway without its headlights on, being driven by the car thief. The thief stole the vehicle in Crown Heights and then drove it recklessly through the city streets until he rear-ended another SUV. That SUV accident didn’t stop the dangerous driver, who fled the scene of the accident and then hit another car. The man then fled the scene of that second collision and eventually hit the highway divider and caused a roll-over accident. Eventually he jumped out of the damaged vehicle and ran away on foot, according to investigators. In his wake, the reckless driving car thief left eight injured accident victims, who were all taken to various New York hospitals. The injuries ranged from minor to critical injuries, reportedly including severe internal injuries and possibly a head injury from the crash. At least three of the injured passengers were children according to officials. Additional investigation is needed to find the hit-and-run driver who apparently stole the vehicle after a woman had left it unlocked in front of her apartment building. Police also explained that the woman had rented the car from someone else in New Jersey. A Manhattan accident specialist attorney http://morrisonwagner.com/about-us/ noted that some of the liability for the accident may fall on the woman who left the SUV unlocked, as a possible act of negligence that led to the dangerous situation. In addition, the owner of the vehicle may also be held responsible. In the meantime, police are looking for the driver of the SUV that caused the multi-vehicle crash. See this article for further details about this SUV accident.

Photo of unassociated accident for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Bob B. Brown [License]