Labor Day Safe Driving Tips

National Safety Council estimates nearly 400 fatalities in car crashes during Labor Day weekend.For many people, Labor Day means a road trip to celebrate the final days of warm weather with family and friends. AAA predicts more than 1.4 million Ohioans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend, with national estimates just under 35 million.

Unfortunately, the busy holiday traffic also means an increase in motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Safety Council (NCS), about 395 people will be killed and another 42,300 will be injured in car crashes during Labor Day weekend. Of those, NCS estimates 144 lives could be saved if all drivers and their passengers wear seat belts.

Don’t be a statistic

“Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer activities – it should be a time of celebration,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman president and CEO of NSC. “Unfortunately this weekend will be a time of tragedy for hundreds of families that experience a preventable fatality on our roadways.”

  • Don’t drink and drive. Designate a non-drinking driver or plan for alternative transportation, such as a taxi
  • Turn it off. All drivers should refrain from using cell phones – handheld or hands-free – because there is no safe way to use a cell phone while driving
  • Eyes on the road. Do not manipulate in-vehicle infotainment systems or electronic devices, including GPS systems, while the vehicle is in motion
  • Buckle up. Make sure all passengers use their safety belts and children are in safety seats appropriate for their age and size
  • Take your time. Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and diminish the impulse to speed
  • Use your head. Drive defensively, check your blind spots and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather

From all of us at Elk & Elk,

Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

 

 

Source:

National Safety Council estimates nearly 400 fatalities in car crashes during Labor Day weekend” August 25, 2014 | nsc.org

5 Birth Injuries for Which You May be Entitled to Legal Compensation

Although some birth defects occur due chromosomal abnormalities or genetics, others can birth injuries, which are the result of poor prenatal care or medical malpractice. Your baby may suffer from lifelong physical, emotional and mental issues as a result of the negligence of a healthcare provider that you trusted. In such a case, working with a medical malpractice attorney may help you get compensation under the law for your baby’s injuries.

Here are five common birth injuries for which you may be entitled to compensation:

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy is caused by a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during delivery, and it can lead to life-long mental retardation or even cerebral palsy. As many as 9,000 newborns suffer from this condition each year.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves around the shoulder. A brachial plexus injury occurs when the nerves are damaged during delivery. Sometimes this occurs when the baby becomes stuck in the birth canal, usually the shoulder getting stuck on the pelvic bone. When the baby is pulled out with a vacuum or forceps, or is pushed out by the mother, it can stretch or tear brachial plexus. Since  these nerves control movement and feeling in the arm, damage to the nerves can result in long-term paralysis.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy involves a variety of neurological disorders that permanently impair movement or muscle function. Lack of oxygen to the brain due to improper monitoring of the fetal heart rate and other poor choices made by healthcare providers during labor and delivery can lead to one of the neurological disorders that is behind cerebral palsy.

Erb’s Palsy

Also known as Erb-Duchenne Palsy, Erb’s palsy is also caused by damage to the brachial plexus nerves and can lead to long-term paralysis. The condition can also be caused by shoulder injuries during childbirth.

Broken Bones

A difficult birth can also lead to broken bones in a newborn. Improper management of labor and delivery can cause the baby to be stuck in a bad position or to be handled too roughly, leading to the injuries.

If your baby has suffered one of these injuries and you believe it to be the result of negligent care, call an experienced malpractice attorney to discuss your case. Children with birth injuries frequently require a lifetime of special care.

Filing a Claim after a Hit and Run Accident

Personal Injury attorney David Elk recounts what happened to a former U.S. Navy seal when he was thrown from his motorcycle in a hit and run accident.

 

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, nothing is more frustrating and alarming than the other driver speeding off from the scene, failing to take responsibility or even checking to see if you’re okay.

Unfortunately, this scenario happens all too often. Speeding drivers, drunk drivers, unsafe drivers, uninsured motorists or even unlicensed drivers flee the scenes of accidents to avoid their responsibilities.

So how do you file a claim if you don’t know who the other driver was? At Elk & Elk, we will investigate the scene of a hit and run accident to see if we can get that information from witnesses, surveillance video cameras or other sources in the area. If we are unable to determine the identity of the negligent driver, we can file a claim against your own insurance company.

Although you may think you only pay insurance to protect yourself in the event you injure someone else in a car accident, your insurance policy also exists protects you. However, if you do file a claim, be aware that your insurance company may not automatically grant your claim just because you are a customer. In some cases, your insurance company may deny your claim completely.

When dealing with an unidentified negligent driver, you should speak to a personal injury attorney. An experienced accident lawyer understands how to navigate complicated claims and deal with insurance companies. He or she will make sure you do not fall victim to lowball settlement checks or other tactics used by the insurance company to avoid paying you what you deserve in the case of your accident.

After an accident, you should focus your attention on recovering from your injuries. Let your attorney handle recovering compensation for medical bills, hospital stays, physical therapy, prescription drug, lost wages and all the other costs that you’ve incurred as the result of someone else’s negligence.

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

David J. Elk

Hospital Cyber-Attack puts Ohioans at Risk for Identity Theft

Hospital cyber-attack puts 4.5M patients at risk for identity theft.Anyone who went to a hospital within the Community Health Systems network may be at risk for identity theft. In a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Community Health Systems said it was attacked during April and June of this year by an “Advanced Persistent Threat” group believed to be operating out of China.

Community Health officials have said the only information taken was “non-medical patient identification data related to the Company’s physician practice operations and affected approximately 4.5 million individuals who, in the last five years, were referred for or received services from physicians affiliated with the Company.”

So, what does that entail? Although CHS maintains your medical records and credit card information have not been compromised, important personal information is now in the hands of hackers, who can use it to steal your identity. The cyber-attack successfully liberated “patients’ names, addresses, birthdates, social security numbers, and, in some cases, telephone numbers, and the names of employers or guarantors.

Community Health Systems owns, leases or operates 206 hospitals in 29 states.” In Ohio, the company operates four medical facilities:

In a press release, CMH stated they would contact individuals whose records were compromised and offer free identity theft protection as well as credit monitoring services.

 

Source: DuBois, Shelley, “Community Health Systems data breach affects 4.5M.” The Tennessean, August 18, 2014.

Is Your Teen at Risk for Heat Injuries?

Heat-related injuries are largely preventable.Summer is almost over and soon students will be heading back to school, but for thousands of kids, football training camp has already begun. While the media has been focused on concussions and traumatic brain injuries, heat injuries remain a major concern for youth football players and other student athletes.

August in Ohio often includes some of the highest temperatures and humidity levels of the year. It’s important to remember that intense physical activity can result in excessive sweating that depletes athletes’ bodies of salt and water.

Early symptoms of heat-related problems may include painful cramping of major muscle groups. However, if not treated promptly with body cooling and fluid replacement, overheating can quickly progress to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal. All students should inform a coach and/or trainer if they are experiencing any symptoms of heat injury.

HEAT INJURY SYMPTOMS
Heat Cramps Painful cramps in the abdomen, arms or legs
Heat Syncope (Fainting) Sudden loss of consciousness due to overheating
Heat Exhaustion Heavy sweating; weakness; skin that feels cold or clammy; fast, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting
Heat Stroke (hyperthermia) A life-threatening condition marked by nausea, seizures, disorientation, unconsciousness or coma

According to the Ohio High School Athletic Association, the most important safeguard to the health of the athlete is the replacement of water, which should be available to students in unlimited quantities. While proper hydration alone will not necessarily prevent heat illness, it will decrease risk. It is also important to replace salt lost through sweat; however, salt tablets are not recommended. Instead, encourage students to salt their food lightly after practice or games. Other precautions that can prevent heat injuries include taking frequent rests in the shade, practicing without helmets and/or pads, and modifying practice schedules on days with excessive heat and/or humidity.

We encourage families to watch “108°: Critical Response,” a powerful new documentary by the Arkansas Educational Television Network that addresses the dangers of heat illness. Featured in the film are three young victims of heat illness, only one of whom survived.

Xarelto: Is it the next Pradaxa?

Are the new blood thinners safe?After the recent multi-million dollar Pradaxa lawsuit settlement, patients who suffered a bleeding injury while taking the anticoagulant Xarelto may wonder if they have a legal claim.

For more than 50 years, patients with an abnormal heart rhythm known as nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AFib not due to valve problems) used a blood thinner called warfarin  to reduce the risk of stroke. While effective, patients taking warfarin had to undergo extensive monitoring to insure safe administration of the medication.

In recent years, a number of new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have hit the market, each promising to provide the same health benefits—but without the testing required by warfarin (Coumadin). However, unlike warfarin, these blood thinners do not have an antidote. Therefore, in cases of severe, sometimes life-threatening bleeding, patients are left to wait until the body slowly filters the drug from their system.


$650 Million Settlement

The first of the new oral anticoagulants to be approved by the FDA was Pradaxa (dabigatran), which subsequently became the subject of over 4,000 lawsuits filed by patients and their families. They claimed the manufacturer failed to warn consumers Pradaxa caused serious and sometimes fatal bleeding that could not easily be reversed. In May of 2014, German drug maker Boehringer Ingleheim agreed to pay $650 million to settle those claims.

Xarelto may cause fatal bleeding

Now another oral anticoagulant, Xarelto (rivaroxaban), has also been linked to serious side effects. A number of lawsuits have been filed, claiming injuries related to the pill involving severe internal bleeding. While Xarelto is not identical to Pradaxa, a recent study concluded patients treated with both NOACs have an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding compared to patients treated with warfarin.

The need for anticoagulants is growing. According to the CDC, nearly 3 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation, and experts predict the market for blood thinners could soon exceed $10 billion per year. Although a number of NOAC reversal agents are currently in development, they are likely years away from FDA approval. In the meantime, patients and healthcare professionals should carefully weigh the risks and rewards of taking new oral anticoagulants.

Elk & Elk is actively investigating potential Xarelto claims. To learn more, visit our Xarelto Lawsuit webpage.

 

Sources:

Holster IL, Valkhoff  VE, Kuipers EJ, Tjwa ET. New oral anticoagulants increase risk for gastrointestinal bleeding: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Gastroenterology 2013; 145(1):105-112.

Husten, Larry. Boehringer Ingelheim Settles US Pradaxa Litigation For $650 Million. Forbes, May 28, 2014.

How Long Will My Accident Case Take?

Ohio personal injury attorney Mindy Elk Fisher shares important information about filing a claim after a motor vehicle accident.

 

Dealing with the aftermath of an automobile accident can be frustrating and exhausting as you deal with the other driver, their insurance company and your own insurance company to clean up the mess.

Once it’s been decided that you need to file a lawsuit in order to be compensated for your injuries, you may be wondering how long the legal process will take.

Litigation timelines will vary from per person and per case. Your accident case may be similar to someone else’s, but the details are always different. An experienced accident lawyer will tailor your case with an understanding of your specific losses and damages that require compensation. This can include lost wages, medical bills, hospital stays, prescription drugs and any other costs incurred due to the negligence of the other driver.

Before you file a claim, it is important to make sure you wait until you receive a long-term prognosis and to finish the treatment plan your doctor lays out for you. Your injuries may be much more severe than you think and, unfortunately, you may continue to suffer for a long time—perhaps even for the rest of your life.

Typically, an auto accident case can take anywhere from one to two years to complete within the state of Ohio. Again, this is a typical amount of time and it can vary due to many factors. Your case may go into the settlement phase very quickly which shortens the time greatly. However, you need to be aware that a settlement may not be your best option. Insurance companies are quick to offer early cash settlements that are small in comparison to what you will actually need to recover from a significant and/or permanent injury. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this very complicated and stressful time. At Elk & Elk, we take on the stress of litigation and proving your case as you focus on getting healthier and recovering as much as possible.

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.

Mindy Elk Fisher

J&J Pulls Hysterectomy Tool Due to Cancer Risk

Depression. young attractive woman with an awful migraineJohnson & Johnson has asked all hospitals to return a surgical device that can spread cancer in women being treated for uterine growths called fibroids. The company has instituted a voluntary “worldwide market withdrawal” of the surgical tool known as a laparoscopic power morcellator.

During laparoscopic hysterectomies and myomectomies, surgeons use a power morcellator to cut fibroids and uterine tissue into smaller pieces. The procedure has long been preferred over open abdominal surgery, which has an increased risk of infection, requires a longer hospital stay, as well as more time before the patient can return to normal activity.

However, in April 2014, the FDA announced that the device could spread undetected cancer cells throughout the abdominal cavity. Shortly thereafter, Johnson & Johnson suspended sales of new devices.

In a letter sent to healthcare providers on July 30, 2014, Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit states:

We believe Ethicon Morcellation Devices perform as intended and there are patients who can benefit from procedures using laparoscopic power morcellators, but the risk-benefit assessment associated with the use of these devices in hysterectomy and myomectomy procedures for removing fibroids remains uncertain.

So, how risky is the procedure? A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) estimates that one in 370 women who undergo a laparoscopic hysterectomy using a power morcellator has undiagnosed uterine cancer.

Colleen Daley, who lost her sister to rare and aggressive uterine cancer called leiomyosarcoma after a power morcellator procedure, asked the FDA advisory committee,

“Would you permit your wife or sister to undergo a procedure that has a one in 351 chance of spreading cancer throughout the body?”

Several manufacturers of power morcellators are now facing lawsuits from women who allege they were never warned the devices can spread cancer if they are used in a hysterectomy or fibroid surgery.

 

Source:

Johnson & Johnson Pulls Hysterectomy Device From Hospitals” by Jon Kamp and Jennier Levitz, The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2014.