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  • $4,000,000 - Medical Malpractice
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  • $7,500,000 - Premises Liability

April 2011 Archives

Ford Recalls Millions of F-150 Trucks Due to Airbag Problems

 Dollarphotoclub_81695086-300x199.jpg Ford Motor Co. significantly expanded the recall of its best-selling vehicle - the Ford F-150 pickup truck - on April 14, 2001 to include nearly 1.2 million F-150 pickup trucks and 16,000 Lincoln Mark LT vehicles.  The recall is based on concerns that a possible short-circuit could cause airbags to deploy unexpectedly.  This recall is in addition to the previous recall of approximately 144,000 F-150 pickup trucks.  Overall, the recall affects approximately 1.32 million trucks with model years between 2004 and 2006. Ford has indicated that is not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the problem.  The company will begin notifying vehicle owners of the recall in May 2011 and is requesting that they bring their vehicle to a dealer for repair at no cost.  The necessary repairs are expected to last less than half a day. Vehicle owners are asked to bring their vehicles into a dealer immediately if their airbag warning light is illuminated.  According to Ford, if the light is ignored, the driver's side front airbag could deploy unexpectedly in some circumstances. Recalls affecting cars and trucks are no rare occurrence.  In fact, according to federal data compiled by the Associated Press, more than 20 million vehicles were recalled in 2010 - the highest number since 2004.  If your vehicle is subject to a recall - whether it is this latest Ford recall or a separate recall - there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself.

New FDA Website Helps Consumers Track Food Recalls

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a new website on April 4, 2011 to help consumers and the food industry better track food recalls.  The website – http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm - was created pursuant to a mandate in the Food Safety Modernization Act requiring the FDA to create a more user-friendly recall search engine.

Two U.S. Senators Call for Increased Oversight of Medical Products

Two U.S. Senators have asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to increase their oversight of medical product manufacturers following product recalls at Triad Group.  On April 1, 2011, Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), both members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, labor and Pensions, submitted a letter to the FDA in which they expressed their concern that the FDA was aware of manufacturing sterility and contamination problems at Triad Group as early as July 2009, but failed to take appropriate action to protect the public until late 2010.  In their letter, the Senators urged the FDA to review its oversight procedures with respect to medical product manufacturing to ensure that manufacturers comply with recommended safety measures.

Virginia Governor Vetoes Medical Malpractice Cap

Medical malpractice reform, including proposed legislation that would cap the amount of damages that can be received in medical malpractice cases, has been causing much debate recently.  Medical malpractice is a legal cause of action that can be brought when a healthcare provider fails to meet their obligation to provide adequate and appropriate medical treatment. When a healthcare provider fails to provide the appropriate treatment, and the patient suffers injury or death as a result, the healthcare provider may be held liable for medical costs, non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss earning potential) and other expenses that the victim has incurred. Several states, including North Carolina and Virginia, have voted on proposed medical malpractice legislation.  Earlier this year, the North Carolina Senate approved a tort reform bill that would cap non-economic damages at $500,000 and require the plaintiff to prove gross negligence, rather than ordinary negligence, in order to sustain a medical malpractice claim against emergency room doctors. Contrary to the North Carolina bill, Virginia's medical malpractice legislation proposed to raise the cap on damages in medical malpractice cases from $2 million to $3 million and would increase the amount by $50,000 every year until 2031.  Despite the fact that the bill was supported by both trial lawyers and doctors, and had been approved by the Virginia legislature, the governor vetoed the bill on March 31, 2011.   Given the overwhelming support for the bill in Virginia's legislature, however, it seems almost certain that Governor McDonnell's veto will be overridden and the law will pass. Many believe that the governor's motivation for vetoing the bill, which was unanimously passed by the Virginia Senate and by a vote of 89-7 in the House, is largely due to future political aspirations.  Critics suspect that Governor McDonnell has presidential or vice-presidential aspirations for 2012 and wants to be able to tout the fact that he vetoed medical malpractice legislation that would increase caps on damages and hurt doctors and hospitals. In blocking the legislation, however, Governor McDonnell has only succeeded in hurting patients.  Not only do caps on medical malpractice damages hurt victims of medical malpractice and their families, but caps on damages may also be unconstitutional.  The Seventh Amendment guarantees the right to a trial by jury in civil cases based on common law, which imposes no caps on civil trial damage awards by juries.  Nonetheless, regardless of whether medical malpractice damage caps are constitutional or not, they undoubtedly hurt patients and the general public by failing to hold doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals financially responsible for their injuries or deaths that they have caused. Steinberg, Goodman, & Kalish  (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

Highway Fatalities Down in 2010

Highway fatalities have dropped to an all-time low, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) latest projections.  The NHTSA estimates that the number of auto accident deaths for 2010 dropped to 32,788 in 2010, down 3% from 2009.  The reduction in auto accident fatalities is particularly notable given that the NHTSA also estimates that the total number of miles driven increased by 20.5 billion, or 0.7%.

Study Reveals That Chronic Pain May Be Worse After Car Accidents

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Aberdeen School of Medicine and Dentistry in Scotland has revealed that chronic pain may be worse after car accidents than after other kinds of traumatic accidents, including workplace injury, surgery, fracture, hospitalization and childbirth.