Author Archives: Morrison Wagner

Deadly drag racing car crash blamed on drunk drivers

New York – Two car accident victims were killed last week on the Nassau Expressway near the border between Long Island and Queens. Five other victims were injured in the highway accident according to police reports. The two victims that were killed were a recently engaged couple that were driving home when they were hit. The collision caused their car to burst into flames and the trapped couple died in the fire. Emergency responders explained that the multi-vehicle car accident left tremendous amounts of damage and injuries ranging from broken bones to spinal injuries to critical injuries. Investigators into the cause of the fatal collision have noted several pieces of evidence that point to reckless driving, drag racing and even drunk driving. Police have arrested and charged two of the people involved in the crash. They believe that the cause of the accident was well more than just carelessness or even negligence. Prosecutors believe that the criminal actions of two of the drivers are what caused the motor vehicle accident. They believe that two of the vehicles were drag racing and lost control, slamming into the other cars and causing a chain reaction. The at-fault drivers will face criminal charges but can also face personal injury lawsuits as well as wrongful death lawsuits. See this article for more about the drunk driving accident.

Illustrative Photo Credit: by Werner Vermaak (originally posted to Flickr as Immobilized Patient) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Medical malpractice following hospital error 14 years ago may leave woman paralyzed

This is a case of medical malpractice that dates back 14 years, when a woman received an epidural injection before giving birth. Apparently, when the doctor was attempting to inject the woman through an epidural needle, a section of the needle broke off inside of her spine. The doctor and hospital staff either didn’t notice the doctor’s error or tried to cover it up by not telling the patient. A New York medical malpractice lawyer explained that both scenarios would likely be considered medical negligence or fraud. The injury lawyer explains that doctors and nurses are obligated to check their equipment to ensure no instruments are left inside of the patient. Cases of medical equipment being left inside of a person’s body usually occur during surgery. However, delicate pieces of equipment, such as needles, are easily broken. Many patients worry about undergoing medical procedures in fear of mistakes or complications that are not corrected. In pregnancy, this fear increases for fear of the baby’s safety. Luckily the botched procedure didn’t cause a birth injury to the baby. The woman in this case continued to develop pain and complications from the doctor’s mistake. It wasn’t until the woman underwent a scan that doctors discovered the broken needle piece embedded in her spine. Experts are now concerned that the mistake may leave the woman paralyzed. They note that attempting surgery to remove it may lead to the very same problem as leaving it in her body. See this article for additional details about this patient’s epidural injection injury and claims about the doctor and hospital trying to cover up the mistake.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: george ruiz [License]

Two children killed, three adults injured in pedestrian crosswalk collision

New York – Brooklyn was the scene of a horrible pedestrian accident that killed a one-year-old baby and a four-year-old child and injured two adult women and a man. Witnesses to the car accident say that a vehicle ran a red light and slammed into a group of pedestrians that was crossing in the middle of a marked crosswalk. The women that were injured in the accident are the mothers of the little children that were killed in the collision. One of those women was pregnant but there’s no indication of injury to the fetus. The adult accident victims suffered various injuries but are listed as stable.

The driver of the car apparently stopped for the red light initially and then sped up, hitting the people as they started crossing the street. Reports show that the female driver has claimed that she suffered a seizure, causing her to lose control of her vehicle. However, it is unclear if there is any evidence to that effect or whether or not she has a history of seizures. According to a New York City accident lawyer, patients who suffer from seizures may be prohibited from driving for exactly this reason. Doctors that treat these patients may actually be required by law to report seizure patients to the Department of Motor Vehicles for further investigation. Complicating matters, police note that the driver of the car has a history of at least 4 prior charges of running a red light. In addition, the intersection where the car crash took place has a significant history of car accidents with injuries. See this article for further details on this Brooklyn accident.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo by Pablo029 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Car versus truck accident kills one victim in Manhattan

New York – The driver of a Mercedes car rear-ended a truck that was double-parked in the street just before 5:00 in the morning in the Harlem section of Manhattan yesterday. Reports indicate that the delivery man who was driving the truck was inside of a local business making a work delivery when he left his truck parked in the middle of the street. The driver of the car apparently didn’t see the truck and caused the rear-end collision. Her vehicle then veered across the road and crashed into a tree, causing massive damage. The front-seated passenger of the car suffered a severe head injury with fatal brain damage. He was declared dead in Harlem Hospital due to the accident injuries according to emergency department doctors. The man who was killed in the crash was identified as being from Jackson Heights in Queens, NY. The female driver also suffered facial injuries but is expected to survive. Police have arrested the woman on suspicion of drunk driving. While police will continue investigating the cause of the accident, this type of deadly motor vehicle crash will require an expert accident lawyer to determine fault. The truck driver may be considered negligent for leaving the delivery truck in the middle of the road, while the possible drunk driver may also bear fault. You can read more about the collision here.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Brad P. [License]

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.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Walter [License]

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.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Jason Burwen [License]

$ 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.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: History in Photos [License]

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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)
________________________________
$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.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Fotos GOVBA [License]

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.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Mark Mitchell [License]

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.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Dale Stewart [License]