Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Xarelto case filings are skyrocketing as over 3300 cases have now been filed in Louisiana under Multi District Litgation No. 2592 headed by Judge Fallon  or the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, overseen by Judge New. Acute and deadly bleeding events have affected thousands of individuals and their families as new information reveals that the manufacturers engaged in deceptive marketing while concealing evidence of xarelto bleeding problems.

Recently Drs. Hwang and Hun concluded studies of senior citizens who switched from traditional warfarin to the blood thinner rivaroxaban (pharmaceutical name for Xarelto). The researchers discovered the patients were at increased risk of vitreous hemorrhage or eye bleeds. In June 2015, a leading medical journal, JAMA Ophthalmology   published their research detailing xarelto side effects of eye bleed injuries shortly after transitioning from Warfarin to Xarelto. eye-1542065

Scientists and professors from John Hopkins published a study in the April 2015 issue of BMJ (originally known as the British Medical Journal) in which they  investigated the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding associated with anticoagulants. The researchers concluded that there could be a “more than twofold higher risk of bleeding with rivaroxaban compared with warfarin.”

Do you remember the OJ Simpson criminal and civil trials of the 1990s? In that case, in June 1994, Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman were found stabbed to death. Criminal charges were filed shortly thereafter against OJ Simpson for murder. What people fail to remember is that in May 1995, a wrongful death civil lawsuit was filed against OJ Simpson on behalf of the Goldmans. However, the civil suit trial did not commence until after the criminal trial ended in the acquittal of Simpson in October 1995. The civil trial commenced in October 1996 and resulted in a jury finding of liability against Simpson with compensatory damages of $8.5 million.

People often wonder about the disparate results between the civil and criminal cases. The answer lies in the standard of proof. The criminal case required a standard of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt, while the civil case requires the lesser standard of preponderance of evidence , which means a greater than 51% chance that Simpson killed Goldman. So it would be much easier to obtain a finding of liability in the civil matter than in the criminal one.

The law allows a Texas civil action for assault by infliction of bodily injury if the defendant acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly; made contact with the plaintiff; and caused bodily injury to the plaintiff. The action of personal injury assault can also be brought against the employer if the assault was committed by the employee within the course and scope of his employment. This type of situation is known as vicarious liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior. A defendant can also be held liable for assault under the theory of participatory liability if the defendant aided and abetted another to commit the assault or participated in a conspiracy to commit the assault.

There are various types of losses a Texas personal injury attorney can recover for an injured claimant. In San Antonio wrongful death cases , for example, medical, funeral, and burial expenses can be recovered in a survival action brought by the executor of the estate. Medical and funeral expenses are also recoverable in wrongful death actions, but recovery is strictly limited to those expenses actually incurred by the beneficiaries.

In an action for wrongful death, the beneficiary can recover medical expenses provided the beneficiary had a legal obligation to pay for those expenses. In addition, an estate can recover punitive damages in a survival action, but parents cannot recover exemplary / punitive damages for a child’s death. Any expenses must also be reasonable in order to have recovery.

In a survival or wrongful death action, there is also recovery for pecuniary losses such as the value of the care, support, and services, a plaintiff would have received if the deceased individual had lived. There must be evidence the deceased family member provided such support and services. Expenses for psychological counseling also fall under the realm of pecuniary losses and may be recovered in wrongful death actions.

Most Texas medical malpractice cases require experts to prove causation. There are exceptions where a jury does not need an expert to decide causation. Those medical malpractice cases are limited to those cases where a jury can use its own experience and common sense to determine causation. For example, a jury will not need an expert to establish a causal connection when a doctor inadvertently leaves a wire in a woman’s breast.

Another example is an elderly plaintiff who sustained personal injury at a Texas nursing home after he fell while walking down a hall in the office and sustained serious brain injuries . The defendants moved to dismiss the case on the basis that the plaintiff failed to provide expert testimony. However, the Court denied the dismissal indicating that the medical provider’s failure to provide an escort or medical device to assist the plaintiff was within the realm of the jury’s common sense and general experience. Even the defendants’ expert testified that the plaintiff required an escort to prevent falling.

In order for the court to admit expert testimony, the expert must be qualified in the particular area and the admitted facts must support the expert opinion. For example, on Texas negligence claims against a physician or hospital, the expert should be a doctor who can testify on the alleged departure from accepted standards of care. The same logic applies to Texas dental malpractice claims or Texas podiatrist malpractice claims . A nurse is generally not qualified to render an opinion on the medical causation of injury unless that opinion is used in conjunction with another doctor’s opinion.

The lost chance of survival doctrine in medical malpractice cases does not exist in Texas. Ultimately, Texas medical malpractice laws state that a plaintiff’s ability to recover monetary and punitive damages for personal injury is barred where the medical practitioner’s negligence deprived the plaintiff of only a 50% or less chance of survival.

To illustrate, in the Milo matter, the patient underwent a hernia operation. Soon thereafter, he began to complain greatly of pain. It turned out that the surgeon’s sutures had rotted, leading to sepsis and shock. Milo was placed on a respirator. A different doctor tried to take Milo off the respirator and after several attempts, Milo went into sudden cardiac and respiratory arrest, causing brain damage and her death 4 months later. The ultimate question before the court was whether Milo would have survived if the other doctor had not tried to take her off the respirator. The plaintiff’s expert testified that before the debacle with the respirator, Milo only had a 40% chance of surviving her pre-existing condition with the sutures. Because the negligence dealing with the respirator reduced the plaintiff’s already less than even chance of survival, the Texas Supreme Court barred recovery for the respirator negligence as a matter of law.

In Rodriguez, parents of a baby brought a Texas medical malpractice claim for failure to give the mother antibiotics to the mother and infant, resulting in the baby’s death. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs failed to provide an expert who testified that an earlier provision of the antibiotic would have saved the infant. The court barred recovery because the experts could not testify that the baby’s chance of survival would have been greater than 50% had he been administered the antibiotics.

In San Antonio and greater Texas, there have been several key personal injury cases in the area of premises liability in 2009.

In one case, a guest at a condominium severed his finger while sitting in a pool-side chair. The court held there was no evidence that the condo association had actual or constructive knowledge of the broken weld in the chair. A San Antonio personal injury attorney can aggressively pursue evidence of constructive or actual knowledge in premises liability cases.

In a case against the City of San Antonio alleging benzene exposure from a nearby closed municipal landfill, the Texas Supreme Court found there was no expert evidence as to the level of benzene in the plaintiff’s daughter. There were also questions concerning the association between the mother’s exposure to benzene and the daughter’s leukemia in utero. Oftentimes, benzene lawsuits in Texas hinge on the quality and strength of expert opinions on causation.

Although Texas reforms have put the breaks on a lot of Texas medical malpractice claims , there are still several great examples of medical negligence cases which can be brought by a Texas medical malpractice lawyer.

In one case, a patient fell from a hospital bed and alleged several acts of negligence. After initially being dismissed for failure to file a timely medical report, the Texas Supreme Court reversed and held that the claim that the claim the bed had been negligently installed was not considered a health care liability claim. Nursing home negligence cases require extensive and aggressive litigation.

In another case, plaintiff’s daughter was sexually assaulted by a nurse’s aide, and the plaintiff sued two nursing homes for failure to file misconduct reports as required under the law. The plaintiff claimed the two (2) year statute of limitations for reporting medical malpractice was tolled on account of the daughter’s mental incapacity. The Appellate Court held that the failure to report misconduct was a health care liability claim and the tolling of the statute of limitations was inapplicable.

Many plaintiffs now ask what can be recovered in a Texas wrongful death medical malpractice case . Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (TX CPRC ) Section 74.301, there is a cap of $250,000 on “non-economic” damages.

Non-economic damages compensate an injured plaintiff for physical pain and suffering, mental or emotional pain, loss of consortium (the services of a spouse), disfigurement, physical impairment, and other types of non-monetary losses.

Exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, are those damages which are often assessed against defendants for reckless or malicious behavior. Juries award these types of damages for the defendants’ behavior. Exemplary damages are not included in the cap for non-economic damages.

There are certain non-economic damage elements that a San Antonio Texas personal injury lawyer can obtain for you in varied cases including wrongful death, medical malpractice, and Texas trucking accidents.

For seriously injured Texas citizens, they may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering in San Antonio Texas auto accident lawsuits . In a wrongful death action, the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased can recover mental anguish damages. Mental anguish damages are those damages that include a mental feeling of pain, such as those that emanate from grief, disappointment, shame, despair, and public humiliation.

In order to recover for mental anguish, a San Antonio personal injury lawyer must demonstrate that the plaintiff suffered a high degree of mental pain and distress that goes above normal worry, anxiety or embarrassment. Texas personal injury law does not require a showing of physical injury to recover mental anguish damages. There is no way to objectively measure mental anguish damages, and the jury has a great deal of discretion in the process. The plaintiff needs to prove to the jury the nature of the mental anguish, its duration, and its severity. The plaintiff must demonstrate a significant disruption in his daily routine as a result.

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (CPRC) 82.008 creates a rebuttable presumption of no liability in certain Texas product liability personal injury cases. However, section 82.008(d) makes exceptions for certain manufacturing flaws o defects from the rebuttable presumption.

If the seller has properly demonstrated the presumption, then it is up to the Texas personal injury lawyer to demonstrate that the standard / regulation was not strong enough to safeguard the public from unreasonable risk of injury or damage. The other option is to prove that the manufacturer, either before or after he commenced marketing the product, kept information or misrepresented information to the federal government. Such withholding or misrepresentation of information would have altered the federal government’s creation of a proper safety standard.

In almost every Texas products liability case, the defense attorney premises his defense on his client’s compliance with government standards. Counsel will claim that ultimately the government gave the seller a de facto seal of approval. In response, the Texas personal injury lawyer will counter that the federal government’s standard has always been a minimum floor and is often outdated and incapable of creating safety.

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