Calculating Future Medical Costs

Ohio attorney Bill Price talks about what to do if your child has been severely injured in an accident and now needs long-term care.

Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be very challenging, confusing and emotional.  Doctor bills, insurance claims, and other issues won’t wait for injuries to heal. What’s even more troubling is when those injuries are significant and/or permanent. You may be struggling to cope with all the ways this harm will affect you and your family for the rest of your lives.

For some accident victims, there may come a time when your doctor cannot offer any more medical treatment because the injury is permanent. However, you may still help dealing with your injury and require assistance maintaining your health.

Therefore, you may seek restitution for not only current medical bills, hospital stays and prescription drugs, but also the future costs as well. If you’re bringing a lawsuit against the negligent party, you might wonder how we calculate all those costs? Well, the answer is with some help from experts.

With a medical expert, we can demonstrate your need for lifelong medical care. This can include physical therapy, doctor visits, prescription drugs and any other medical costs. But we all know prices change. The amount you paid for medication 10 years is not the same as today and will definitely be different 10 years from now. That’s where an economist becomes important. He or she can estimate what all of your future associated costs will be throughout the years. When dealing with an insurance company, we need to prove economic damages in order to settle or go to trial. By utilizing experts, we work to bring you and your family one step closer to recovery.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above and to explore our educational website at www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

William J. Price

New Guidelines for Unborn Babies with Heart Problems

baby and dadThe American Heart Association has released new guidelines for the care of unborn babies with heart problems. In a recent article, fetal heart experts recommend that at-risk pregnant women should take advantage of the latest developments in advanced imaging technologies.

Risk factors for expectant mothers

Under the new recommendations, pregnant women with specific risk factors should be referred for fetal echocardiography, which uses sound waves to examine the heart of the fetus. These risk factors for mothers include:

  • Diabetes diagnosis prior to pregnancy or in the first trimester
  • Having congenital heart disease or a close relative with congenital heart disease, or other specific maternal medical conditions
  • Having conceived using in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in the third trimester, including:
    • Aspirin
    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
    • Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
    • COX-2 inhibitors (Celebrex)

“Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect that can result in either death or significant health problems in newborn babies,” said Mary T. Donofrio, M.D., lead writer of the statement, and director of the Fetal Heart Program and Critical Care Delivery Service at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Fetal risk factors

Fetuses in which a chromosome problem or other abnormality has been identified are at risk, as well as those with a suspected heart problem. Additionally, if the fetus has been diagnosed with a heart abnormality, the pregnancy should be carefully monitored and all healthcare providers should carefully coordinate a delivery plan and prepare post-delivery care that the baby will need.

According to the AHA, some fetal heart rhythm disturbances or heart function abnormalities can be treated with medicines given to the mother, which cross the placenta to reach the fetus. In-utero heart catheterization and surgical procedures are being performed, however they are still considered experimental.

If you or someone you love is expecting a child, it is important to discuss all health risks and concerns with your health care professional.

The statement, Diagnosis and Treatment of Fetal Cardiac Disease, was published in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation.

 

Source:

New guidelines aim to improve care for babies with heart problems in the wombAmerican Heart Association, April 24, 2014. Retrieved from blog.heart.org.

Fibroid Treatment May Spread Hidden Cancer

The FDA has issued a warning that certain surgical procedures used to treat uterine fibroids can cause the spread of undetected cancer.

What are Fibroids?

A uterine fibroid is a tumor that grows in the wall of the uterus. While many women who develop fibroids experience no symptoms, those who do may require surgery to remove them. Fibroids can grow as a single tumor or in clusters and are usually not cancerous. However, according to the FDA, as many as 1 in 350 women who undergo myomectomy (removal of uterine fibroids) or hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) for symptomatic fibroids has an undiagnosed type of cancer called uterine sarcoma.

Uterine Power Morcellation in Hysterectomy and Myomectomy

If fibroid removal is necessary, many women opt for a minimally invasive or robotic procedure such as a laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy, in which the surgeon accesses and removes the fibroids or the uterus through several small abdominal incisions. To remove the tissue, the surgeon may use a power tool, to chop up, or morcellate, the fibroids and/or uterus.

Cancer Seeding

If power morcellation is performed in women with unsuspected uterine sarcoma, there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue to other parts of the abdomen and pelvis. This “cancer seeding,” or spread of cancer cells, puts women at risk for cancer in other organs.

Since there is no reliable method for predicting whether a woman with fibroids may have a uterine sarcoma, the FDA discourages the use of laparoscopic power morcellation during hysterectomy or myomectomy for uterine fibroids. The agency is considering requiring a “black box warning” – the strongest warning it can mandate – for laparoscopic power morcellators.

The New York Times reports:

Sarcomas are a particular concern, because they are aggressive and almost never detectable with imaging or other tests before surgery. The diagnosis is usually made only after surgery, when the tissue is biopsied. By then, if a morcellator was used, it is too late to prevent the spread of the cancer, and the woman’s chances of long-term survival are significantly worsened, the agency said.

Morcellator Cancer Lawsuits

A growing number of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of power morcellators, including Ethicon Inc., Blue Endo, Lina Medical, and others. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that they were never warned that morcellation has the potential to “seed” undiagnosed uterine sarcoma (leiomyosarcoma), leading to the spread of the cancer.

FDA Recommendations

For women with fibroids and other gynecological health problems that may require surgery, it’s important to talk to your doctor. The FDA has released the following recommendations:

  • Ask your health care provider to discuss all the options available to treat your condition and discuss the risks and benefits of each.
  • If laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy is recommended, ask your health care provider if power morcellation will be performed during your procedure, and to explain why he or she believes it is the best treatment option for you.
  • If you have already undergone a hysterectomy or myomectomy for fibroids, tissue removed during the procedure is typically tested for the presence of cancer. If you were informed these tests were normal and you have no symptoms, routine follow-up with your physician is recommended. Patients with persistent or recurrent symptoms or questions should consult their health care provider.

UPDATE:

7/24/14 – According to The Washington Post, “A study by doctors at Columbia University, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that nearly 1 in 370 women who undergoes a hysterectomy using a surgical device called a power morcellator is found to have previously undetected uterine cancers.”

Sources:

“Laparoscopic Uterine Power Morcellation in Hysterectomy and Myomectomy” FDA Safety Communication, Issued April 17, 2014.

F.D.A. Discourages Procedure in Uterine Surgery” by Denise Grady, The New York Times, April 17, 2014.

Research supports FDA warning about a medical device that could spread cancer” by Caelainn Hogan, The Washington Post, July 22, 2014.

Brain Damaged Baby Result of Poor Staff Decisions

Ohio medical malpractice lawyer Jay Kelley recalls the tragedy of one family whose infant suffered brain damage due to a birth injury.

The birth of a child should be one of the most exciting and happy times in a family’s life. Unfortunately, sometimes happiness turns to tragedy when a baby is harmed in the birthing process.

Such is the case for one of our clients, their precious baby suffered severe brain damage during delivery. It was expected to be a routine Caesarean Section delivery, but the process took much longer than normal.

Typically, doctors complete this type of delivery in 20 minutes, but our client’s delivery took nearly an hour. Compounding this issue was a change of personnel during the delivery process—the hospital staff in the room left, and new personnel were brought in. It is typically protocol to keep the same staff on a case during delivery especially during such a surgical procedure.

When the staff that started the delivery was placed in other areas of the hospital, our client’s delivery became less of a priority. In the room now was an employee who had not performed certain procedures in nearly two decades. Due to a lack of training, the child was not getting enough oxygen and began to turn blue. The baby developed profound respiratory problems, had to be resuscitated and put in an incubator.

Of course, no delivery is without risks and it’s not uncommon for a baby to need to be placed in an incubator. In fact, when reading the medical records and charts of our client, they seemed to state everything went well. However, it was only during the discovery phase of the litigation process in which the lack of qualified staff in the room and how the child’s injury actually occurred was finally revealed. Had a claim never been filed, they family never would have known their child’s suffering and future health problems were the result of negligence. It takes an experienced attorney to uncover the truth and help families receive compensation for the pain and suffering caused by this lack of medical care.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above and to explore our educational website at www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

Jay Kelley

 

The Growing Problem of Elder Abuse

elder abuse a growing problemFor many of us, moving aging parents and other relatives into a nursing home or similar facility is a sad, yet necessary decision. Unfortunately, countless elderly people are abused, neglected, and exploited by the caregivers at such facilities. This is commonly known as elder abuse.

Elder abuse is any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or other person that creates an unreasonable risk of harm to a vulnerable elderly person. The abuse can be physical, emotional, or even sexual, and it can have serious consequences, including death.

You should consult with an elder abuse attorney immediately if your parent or other loved one has been injured or killed due to suspected elder abuse. Hundreds of thousands of elderly people fall victim to mistreatment by trusted caregivers and other adults every year, and the problem may be bigger than we thought due to underreporting.

Legislatures in all fifty states have passed elder abuse prevention laws. These statutes define the abuse and set forth punishments. Criminal statutes often allow for enhanced penalties if the victim is older than a specified age, meaning that elder abuse can have severe consequences.

If your elderly parent or relative has been seriously injured or died due to such mistreatment, an elder abuse attorney can help you obtain payment for their injuries, pain and suffering, as well as compensation for any losses you sustained due to their injury or death.

 

Source:

“What is Elder Abuse?” – Administration on Aging, Department of Health & Human Services

How is My Motorcycle Case Different?

Ohio attorney Art Elk puts his passion for motorcycles and his knowledge of personal injury law together to help victims of motorcycle accidents.

If someone mentions a motor vehicle accident, many people tend to imagine an automobile being involved in a wreck with another automobile.

However, if you’ve been involved in an accident in which you were riding a motorcycle, you may wonder, “Does that make my case any different?”

Actually, it does. Motorcycle accidents frequently have catastrophic outcomes, as riders are much more vulnerable. In addition, cases involving a motorcycle require a specialized approach from the very beginning. Reconstructing the scene of a motorcycle accident includes a very special set of dynamics. We hire experts who understand the differences between an accident involving a motorcycle versus those involving an automobile or truck.

A motorcycle accident attorney must also be prepared to handle the public’s perception of motorcyclists. Obviously, you want an experienced attorney who understands motorcycle accidents, but retaining a lawyer who also rides can make a big difference.

Our attorneys understand the unfavorable manner in which some people regard bikers—believing them to be loud and unruly. Such people may quickly assume the motorcyclist is at fault without knowing any of the facts. That’s why it’s important to get the investigation started immediately. We want to talk to witnesses firsthand – while memories are still fresh – and work to uncover the truth. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, you should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above and to explore our educational website at www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

Art Elk

Vehicle Recalls Abound

Recently, General Motors has been the subject of extensive media attention and congressional hearings amid allegations the car manufacturer covered up a dangerous ignition switch defect that has been linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths. However, GM isn’t the only auto manufacturer experiencing problems.

The Motley Fool writes:

“Meanwhile, competitors in the automotive industry are taking advantage of General Motors’ massive recall by scheduling recalls of their own, knowing the media spotlight will remain focused on GM.”

Vehicle Recalls

Chrysler also recently announced a worldwide recall of nearly 870,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos to address problems with the brake system.

Ford issued two recalls involving nearly 435,000 vehicles. The first recall affects nearly 386,000 Ford Escape SUVs to fix rusty frame parts. The second recall warns consumers to replace improperly welded seat back frames on 49,000 cars, including the Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ, Ford Escape, and C-Max vehicles.

Toyota has announced the recall of 2.34 million vehicles in North America (6.39 million vehicles worldwide) due to several separate issues, including seats not locking properly, airbags not deploying, and faulty windshield wipers. The recall spans 27 Toyota models including the RAV4 SUV, Yaris, Corolla and Camry.

New Mandatory Recall Mailing Label

When sorting through your mail, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a legitimate manufacturer’s recall and junk mail. To address this issue, the NHTSA now requires all auto manufacturers to use a distinctive label, notifying owners of recalled vehicles or equipment.

“Recalls only work if consumers are aware of them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This new label will allow consumers to quickly recognize recall notices mailed to their homes so they can act quickly to get their vehicles, child restraints, tires, or other motor vehicle equipment fixed.”

NHTSA Recall Label

 Consumers can also receive relevant notifications by utilizing a variety of online tools, such as:

  • Email notifications  – Receive updates when register your cars, tires and car seats.
  • Mobile Alerts – NHTSA’s Safercar mobile app sends recall information directly to Android and iPhone users and is available for both Apple devices and Android devices, or RSS feed. It provides information on crash test ratings and child seat installation locations.
  • Check for Open Recalls on Used Cars – The NHTSA’s website, www.safercar.gov, provides a general search tool to help consumers identify recalls that may affect their vehicle. Later this year, a VIN look-up will be available on the site when a new NHTSA mandate goes into effect making it easier for consumers to access this information.

Remember, no matter how you hear about a vehicle recall, don’t ignore it—follow up with your dealer.

Jury Awards $9 Billion in Actos Litigation

In one of the largest jury awards in U.S. history, the manufacturers of the diabetes treatment Actos® were ordered to pay $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $9 billion in punitive damages over hidden cancer risks. According to court documents, a federal court jury found that pharmaceutical giants Takeda and Eli Lilly acted with wanton and reckless disregard for patient safety.

Although more lawsuits are pending, the considerable damages are only for a single case, brought by Terrence Allen, a former Actos user who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos. It was the first federal “bellwether” trial of nearly 3,000 lawsuits, which have been filed in the Actos multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. Such cases are commonplace in mass torts involving a dangerous drug or medical device. The verdicts in bellwether cases may be used to determine settlements for other similarly situated plaintiffs.

Learn more about Mass Torts and Class Action Suits.

The federal Actos multidistrict litigation in Louisiana, entitled In Re: Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2299) is comprised of a total of four bellwether trials. The second, originally set to begin on April 14, has been continued. A new trial date has not yet been announced. The third and fourth trials are scheduled to commence on November 3, 2014 and January 12, 2015, respectively.

Nationwide Actos Litigation

Three other juries have deliberated over allegations that Takeda knew Actos could cause bladder cancer and failed to properly warn doctors and consumers about the risks. Bloomberg reports:

Last year, state juries in California and Maryland ordered Takeda to pay a total of $8.2 million in damages to former Actos users. Judges in both states threw out the verdicts. In December, state court jurors in Las Vegas rejected claims the company failed to properly warn consumers about the risks of Actos.

The thousands of plaintiffs who took Actos to treat Type 2 diabetes and developed bladder cancer allege that Takeda downplayed research indicating Actos caused the cancer and that manufacturer Takeda mislead regulators.

Elk & Elk represents a number of clients who were diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos for diabetes and is continuing to accept new cases for review.

If you or someone you know has been taking Actos (pioglitazone) for a year or longer and has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, call the Actos bladder cancer lawyers at Elk & Elk Co., Ltd., at 1-800-ELK-OHIO or fill out our free, no-obligation online contact form.

 

Source:

Takeda, Lilly Jury Awards $9 Billion Over Actos Risks” by Jef Feeley and Kanoko Matsuyama, Bloomberg, April 8, 2014.

What To Do If the At-fault Driver Has Little or No Insurance

Ohio attorney Michael Eisner discusses what to do if you were injured in a car accident by a driver who does not have insurance or only carries very little coverage.

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be a very stressful situation as you try to recover from your injuries and resolve financial issues.

What happens if the driver who was at fault for the accident does not have any insurance or only carries the minimum coverage, which does not cover your costs?

To put yourself in the best position possible, you should purchase as much UM/UIM coverage as you can afford.

Uninsured Motorist (UM) was designed to provide a source of recovery when a driver without any insurance causes harm. UM coverage is paid by your insurance company to cover costs incurred due to the accident, subject to policy limits.

Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage will protect you if the at-fault driver has insurance, but not enough to cover your costs. With UIM coverage, your insurance company pays you the damages that you would have recovered had the other driver carried full coverage—also subject to the policy limit. For example, if your injuries incurred a cost of $100,000 dollars and the other driver only holds a $25,000 insurance policy, your own coverage would put in the rest of the money up to the amount of your policy.

Unfortunately, these situations are all too common. There thousands of drivers on the road who are uninsured or underinsured and they cannot cover your losses. These losses can include medical bills, hospital stays, prescription drugs, lost wages and any other costs associated with your injuries.

To recover under any of these types of policies, your attorney will need to present evidence demonstrating the other driver was at fault and that your insurance policy does not cover the complete costs of the injuries that you have suffered. What you’re technically doing at this point is filing a claim against your own insurance policy.

Filing suit against your own insurance company may sound strange. However, it is important to remember that you paid for this coverage to protect you in precisely these types of unfortunate situations. If your insurance company does not respond properly or handle the claim in an appropriate manner, it is your right to pursue the claim in court.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above and to explore our educational website at www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

Michael Eisner

Jury Awards $39M in Wrongful Death Case

Elk & Elk personal injury attorney Phillip Kuri obtains justice for client

CLEVELAND, April 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/

Phillip Kuri
Phillip A. Kuri, Partner at Elk & Elk Co., Ltd., obtained a $39 million dollar jury verdict for his client.

The Ohio personal injury law firm of Elk & Elk Co., Ltd. is pleased to announce a $39 million verdict on behalf of a deceased Ohio construction worker who lost his life in a fatal motor vehicle accident in 2010 on Interstate 271, near Richfield, Ohio.

A unanimous jury in Cuyahoga County, Ohio returned the $39 million verdict against The Shelly Company on April 3, 2014 in the case of Lynette A. Roginski v. Shelly Co., et al. The jury ruled that the Thornville, Ohio paving company was negligent and caused the fatal accident, according to official court documents. (Case no. CV-11-760490).

“When corporations put profits ahead of safety, as was the case in Mr. Roginski’s tragic death, families suffer the very real consequences,” said Phillip A. Kuri, a prominent Cleveland attorney and one of two lawyers who represented the plaintiff. “It is our wish that this verdict will put companies on notice and help prevent similar accidents in the future.”

The fatal accident on July 27, 2010 resulted in the death of Randy Roginski, a husband, son, and father of three. Mr. Roginski, a 41-year-old resident of North Royalton was in an active construction zone working for Solar Testing Labs Inc. at the time of the accident, which occurred at 11:58 p.m. just north of Interstate 77, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He was standing on the berm on the right side of the highway when he was struck by a passing motorist. Roginski was pronounced dead at the scene.

The case was brought in 2011 by Mr. Roginski’s widow, represented by Phillip A. Kuri of Elk & Elk Co., Ltd. and Christian R. Patno of McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Lifftman Co., LPA. The plaintiff’s attorneys presented evidence that the paving company cut corners and failed to follow the approved safety plan. The jury determined The Shelly Company was negligent and awarded Mr. Roginski’s widow $19 million in compensatory damages, according to court documents. The Shelley Company was also found liable for $20 million in punitive damages and ordered to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees.

“Sadly, many workplace injuries and deaths such as Mr. Roginski’s are preventable,” said Kuri. “We hope this sizeable verdict will serve as a reminder to corporate America that if someone dies due to a company’s negligent actions, that business will be held accountable.”

About Phillip A. Kuri

Attorney Phillip A. Kuri, a partner at Elk & Elk Co., Ltd., practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice and general tort law, among others. Attorney Kuri has been selected as an Ohio “Super Lawyer,” recognized by the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums and is a member of the American Association for Justice Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

About Elk & Elk

The Elk & Elk® personal injury law firm represents clients in cases throughout Ohio. The firm has 18 trial attorneys with experience in motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, defective products, work place accidents, and premises liability. Elk & Elk Co., Ltd. has offices located at 6105 Parkland Boulevard, Suite 200, Mayfield Heights, Ohio 44124 and locations throughout Ohio, including Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron, Canton, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. For more information, visit www.elkandelk.com.

Contact:

Ken Perdue, Marketing Director
Elk & Elk Co., Ltd.
[email protected]
(440) 442-6677