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Garmer & Prather, PLLC Attorneys At Law

Lexington Personal Injury Law Blog

The difference between wrongful death claims and survival actions

An unexpected death is always tragic -- but it's even worse when the death could have been prevented.

Those deaths often occur through things like truck accidents, injuries on construction sites and surgical mistakes. When the victims of these devastating events don't live long enough to bring their own personal injury claims to court, their survivors can take action. They sometimes file two different type of lawsuits related to a victim's death: a wrongful death claim and a survival action.

Having surgery? You will want to read this first

Any number of circumstances could land you in one of Kentucky's hospital operating rooms. You might be one of many who have scheduled elective surgeries -- perhaps cosmetically-based or because you've been told that a particular surgery may help improve your health in some way. Then again, you may undergo surgery in a much more urgent situation, such as those that often occur following motor vehicle accidents. 

Regardless of what prompts your surgery, you, like all other Kentucky residents, have the right to reasonably assume that all the doctors, nurses and other licensed professionals caring for you will conduct themselves according to accepted safety standards and protocol regulations set forth in the medical industry. Sadly, surgical errors are one of the most common types of situations that often lead to medical malpractice litigation

Drowsy truckers asleep at the wheel

Tracy Morgan-the actor and comedian best known for his work on 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live-just about lost his life in an accident. Back in 2014, Morgan was a passenger in a limo van on the New Jersey Turnpike when a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer crashed into the van. The impact flipped the Mercedes with Morgan and five other passengers onto its side and smashed it into other vehicles. The crash involved a total of 21 people and 6 vehicles.

Even though Morgan spent two weeks in a coma after the accident and suffered a broken leg, nose, ribs and a traumatic brain injury, he fared better than his friend, James McNair, who died in the impact. It's only been recently that Morgan has been able to return to performing.

Ford Ranger trucks recalled due to air bags

Kentucky truck owners may be interested to learn that Ford and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have declared 2006 Ford Ranger trucks unsafe to drive. Tests have determined that the trucks have defective Takata air bag inflators that pose an "immediate risk" to drivers and passengers.

In January, a West Virginia man was killed when the air bag in his Ford Ranger exploded. Ford then studied the air bags in 2006 Ranger trucks and found that they have a higher risk of rupturing than air bags in other model years. According to the company and the NHTSA, the vehicles are not safe to drive. As a result, Ford dealers will arrange to have them towed to a service center to have the airbag inflators replaced. The recall involves 33,428 Ranger trucks built between Aug. 5 and Dec. 15, 2005. It also includes 2006 Mazda B-series trucks, which were built by Ford.

Parents awarded $42 million in birth injury case

Many Kentucky parents depend on doctors to safely deliver babies. However, medical professionals sometimes make mistakes during a child's delivery that can result in serious birth injuries.

For example, the federal government recently agreed to pay $42 million to a Pennsylvania couple whose son suffered brain injuries from the use of forceps during his birth. According to court documents, the boy was delivered at federally-supported Keystone Women's Health Center in February 2012. During the delivery, an obstetrician used forceps to pull on the boy's head, allegedly causing skull fractures and bleeding in his brain. As a result, the boy, now age 5, is unable to speak, read or write. He will also likely be confined to a motorized wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Drugs used to restrain nursing home residents

According to a report issued by Human Rights Watch, nursing home residents in Kentucky and the rest of the country who have dementia are given antipsychotic drugs on a regular basis so that they are more easily managed. This is in direct contradiction to nursing home regulations that prohibits the use of drugs as chemical restraints. It is also despite the fact that antipsychotic drug use is linked to a higher risk of death in dementia sufferers.

Information for the report was obtained from visits researchers made to over 100 nursing homes. The report estimates that over 179,000 older individuals in nursing homes in the United States are administered antipsychotic drugs every week without being properly diagnosed. In many instances, the drugs are administered without the informed consent of the nursing home residents or their families.

Automotive recalls hit record high in 2016

While the number of automotive recalls in 2017 has not yet been officially determined, it will likely not approach the figure posted in 2016. In fact, Automotive News has stated that 2016 was an all-time record, with 53.1 million vehicles being recalled in the U.S. In comparison, there were 50.8 million vehicles recalled in 2015, marking a 4.5 percent increase. Kentucky motorists should be aware of why 2016 saw such a spike.

One major factor was the Takata airbag recall. Takata Corporation recalled over 20 million airbags, and continues to recall them, because of defective inflators. The airbags were discovered to explode upon impact, injuring or killing the vehicle's occupants with metal shards. That year, General Motors Company was also recalling vehicles with faulty ignition switches. These switches would turn off the engine and disable the airbag, power steering, and other features.

Ford updates recall after confirming faulty airbag death

Kentucky Ford pickup owners may be interested to learn that, on Jan. 11, Ford Motor Co released a statement that confirmed that a second death was caused by a defective Takata airbag. The fatal accident occurred in July 2017 in West Virginia. The previous fatal accident occurred in December 2015.

Ford confirmed that the two vehicles involved in the accidents were 2006 Ford Rangers. Both airbags had actually been built on the same day. The death prompted Ford to issue an updated recall for vehicles that were recalled back in 2016. The affected vehicles included more than 391,000 2004 to 2006 Ford Ranger vehicles. The updated recall also identified 2,700 vehicle owners in the U.S. who were at the highest risk.

Senators introduce bill requiring truck side guards

On Dec. 12, two U.S. senators introduced a bill that would require all tractor-trailer trucks to have side and front crash guards. Safety experts say that the proposed legislation would make roads safer in Kentucky and across the country.

Federal statistics show that over 200 Americans are killed in side underride collisions with trucks each year. In this type of accident, a passenger vehicle slides beneath the side of a truck's trailer. When this occurs, the top of the passenger vehicle can be ripped off, killing the people inside. The National Transportation Safety Board says that side guards would prevent many underride accidents, but the trucking industry has resisted calls to install the safety devices.

Coal mining deaths up in the U.S.

While advancing technology and shrinking demand means fewer and fewer people are working in coal mines, a recent report shows that coal mine deaths nearly doubled last year.

With fewer regulators on the job, often the only incentive that mine operators have to protect their employees is the knowledge that somewhere out there, a trial lawyer will stand up for a miner's rights, when management neglected the miner.

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