Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Although Guillain Barre Syndrome is thought to be the result of an infectious illness in the weeks prior to the onset of GBS (Over 60% of GBS cases are associated with prior acute infection by several bacterial species and viruses),  the Federal Court of Claims has come to accept that GBS can also be caused by vaccination, specifically the influenza / flu vaccination. The objective in filing a claim with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is to demonstrate the substantially probability that the influenza vaccine activated the immune system against components of the nervous system similar to its activation by viral  or bacterial  infection in non-vaccinated  GBS cases.

The most commonly proposed mechanism for the development of autoimmune disease is molecular mimicry. This is a strong theory advocated by neurologist experts in arguing for the role of flu vaccination in the development of GBS. Molecular mimicry refers to a situation where the pathogen and host (ie. the human body) share nearly  identical antigens, which induces an antibody and T cell immune response that is cross reactive, meaning the antibody reacts with similar sites across a wide spectrum of proteins. There are multiple ways in which an immune response can become cross-reactive.   The strongest evidence for the molecular mimicry hypothesis has come from discoveries in research with jejuni strains, the most  common pathogen associated  with GBS.

A neurologist expert in a vaccine causation case will argue that it is substantially probable that the influenza vaccine triggered the immunological  reaction  that  causes GBS or variant Miller  Fisher Syndrome by  molecular mimicry or non specific activation of the immune system. The immune system could  recognize the vaccine and the victim may share nearly identical antigens, which induces an antibody  and T cell immune  response that  is cross reactive. Many Special Masters, who review and decide GBS flu cases filed in the Court of Federal Claims, are aware of molecular mimicry, and the theory is generally widely accepted as a basis for causation. Lately, the Department of Health and Human Services has accepted the link between flu vaccine and GBS provided there is no evidence of an alterative form of causation such as a gastrointestinal or upper respiratory illness. Consequently, GBS flu cases are proceeding much more quickly through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program without the need for neurology experts. Baseluos Law Firm is well versed in the handling of GBS flu vaccine injury cases, and has obtained settlements of several hundred thousand dollars each for individual claimants.

GBS can be one of the most debilitating, difficult neurological reactions following vaccination. A client with GBS who comes to Baseluos Law Firm is often burdened by long rehabilitation stays, invasive surgery including lumbar puncture and Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG), and new restrictions on their ability to produce income and lead a normal life. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program will demand that a petitioner suffer residual symptoms of their injury for at least six months after their injury or major surgery. Often, GBS vaccine injury victims have no problem meeting the 6 month threshold as the various tingling, numbness, foot drop, temperature sensitivity, and general fatigue can linger for years after the first line of treatment. GBS vaccine injury victims often have strong claims for past and future suffering, past and future income loss, and past and future out of pocket medical costs.

In the course of recovery, the GBS victim will eventually walk without assistance. However, they may still continue to experience residual symptoms, including excessive fatigue, especially when exercising as well as fasciculations, which are brief, spontaneous contractions of the muscles. Michael Baseluos has witnessed GBS clients who even years after their initial vaccine injury, still experience  paresthesia in both hands and easily fluctuating blood pressure  and heart rate than prior to GBS.  Rippling of the muscles under the eyelids and over the  cheek along with intermittent diarrhea may also be present. White matter changes on the MRI is another tell tale sign of GBS sequelae, or long term consequences related to Guillain Barre.  These findings are suggestive of autonomic dysfunction.   There is no cure for the disorder, but several treatments can ease pain and reduce the duration of the illness. Most people recover completely from even the most severe cases of GBS. GBS survivors will return to some normalcy but these type of residual symptoms can still persist, forming a strong basis for compensation for future pain and suffering, income loss, and out of pocket medical costs.

In cases where the client was healthy before a flu shot, the government has a much more difficult time arguing that  influenza infection, upper respiratory or gastrointestinal infection are the culprits behind Guillain Barre Syndrome. About two thirds of GBS cases have an antecedent infection within six weeks prior to symptom onset, generally an upper respiratory tract infection or gastroenteritis.   Epstein-Barr  virus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Campylobacter jejuni and cytomegalovirus, are some of the non-vaccine infectious agents.

In this blog entry, we discuss serious injury and wrongful death from drunk drivers . Often, this driver carries no or minimal insurance. Baseluos Law Firm strives to maximize all sources of insurance coverage to compensate the seriously injured. To do this, Michael Baseluos and his investigators search for all factors behind the intoxicated driver including how the driver received his alcohol. Traditionally, it was not necessarily unlawful to sell or provide alcoholic beverages to adults. However, many states including Texas have passed laws called “dram shop acts” which assesses liability against establishments that supply alcohol to drivers who negligently injure others persons or property.

For a liquor provider, the basic Texas dram shop liability act investigates several factors including whether the provider broke the law in selling or giving the alcohol to the DWI driver; whether such alcohol was the proximate cause of his intoxication (oftentimes, the drunk driver has received alcohol from a number of providers prior to a major accident); whether the provider knew or should have known that the defendant DUI / DWI driver was below the legal age of 21 or heavily intoxicated at the time the alcohol was furnished; whether it was objectively obvious the person was intoxicated or was underage at the time; and finally, whether the intoxication level was the primary driving factor behind a DWI / DUI death or serious injury.

The seminal case that has driven the enactment of dram shop liability laws was a NJ case called Rappaport v. Nichols , which held that a bar could be held legally liable for furnishing alcohol to an underage or visibly intoxicated individual who thereafter commits a DWI / DUI offense that kills or seriously injures pedestrians or other drivers.

One of the most vital aspects of the xarelto class action is the application of the “learned intermediary doctrine”. A common misperception by the public is that a pharmaceutical manufacturer like Bayer or Janssen Pharmaceuticals (the current defendants in the multidistrict litigations in Pennsylvania and Louisiana) has a duty to warn xarelto users regarding the risks hemorrhages, strokes, and bleedouts. This is a misconception.

In reality, if pharmaceutical manufacturers can show that they adequately informed the doctor of the risks of their drugs, then the manufacturers can shield themselves from product liability suits, even if ultimately patients do not receive any warnings. In reviewing manufacturer warnings, it is tempting to analyze the FDA Black Box Warnings and the Medication guide, both of which the FDA approves. A Black box warning appears on a prescription drug label and highlights life threatening or serious adverse effects for the consumer. Medication Guides are paper copies that accompany prescription medicines which deal with both general and specific information on harmful or threatening drug effects. However, a Xarelto lawsuit lawyer is more interested in the FDA approved prescribing information ie. Determining what manufacturers provided to the prescribing doctors.

Xarelto / Rivaroxaban belongs to a class of drugs known as NOACs – Non Vitamin K Dependent Anticoagulants. Other drugs in this class include Pradaxa and Eliquis. These specific NOACs were all evaluated against warfarin, a traditional anticoagulant, and underwent clinical trials and obtained FDA approval. Moreover, Xarelto defendants like Bayer AG and Janssen Pharmaceuticals touted NOACs and being more effective and safer than Warfarin, employing direct to consumer advertising (DTC). Interestingly, only the USA and New Zealand permit DTC advertising of prescription drugs.

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