Tag Archives: Brain Injury

The Difference Between Scientific Evidence And The Scientific Method

Scientific evidence plays a crucial role in virtually all mass torts cases (whether prescription drugs, environmental exposures, or consumer products), and so, when the National Research Council and the Federal Judicial Center published the Third Edition of the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, lawyers took note. Apart from Supreme Court opinions — which these days often raise more questions than they answer, which is partly why Daubert is still the leading case twenty years later — the Manual is likely the primary reference federal judges use to guide them in deciding what scientific evidence they allow into a jury trial. Scientific evidence is ... Continue Reading

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Brain Injuries, Not Lawyers, May Spell The End Of Football

[Update, September 2014: I wrote the below post in February 2012, when a prominent economist and blogger seriously claimed "The most plausible route to the death of football starts with liability suits." In a mere two-and-a-half years, the tide has turned considerably, and it had nothing to do with liability suits. Jason Kottke recently collected multiple articles by die-hard football fans explaining why they won't watch the sport any more. More and more people can't handle the greed, the violence, and the damage — just today, Esquire had a piece on the league's disgraceful handling of Ray Rice's domestic abuse. Professional ... Continue Reading

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Anesthesia Complications In Routine Surgery

The lines between conscious sedation, monitored anesthesia care, general anesthesia, and life-threatening central nervous system depression are blurry and thin.  As the death of Michael Jackson and prosecution of his personal physician has brought back into the spotlight (I hope), anesthesia medications like propofol are frighteningly dangerous if used improperly.  It's not like taking an antihistamine and going to sleep for a couple hours. Even the "long acting" procedural sedation agents like Versed and Fentanyl work for at most an hour, whereas the short-acting agents like Propofol last for only a couple minutes.  They have to be constantly administered and the patient has to be constantly monitored. ... Continue Reading

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When Workers’ Compensation Isn’t Enough After A Wrongful Death

One of the most common situations I see as a personal injury lawyer involves people injured at work because their employer blatantly disregarded OSHA safety regulations. Most everyone knows that workers' compensation laws provide employers with legal immunity from negligence claims, but common sense suggests that employers remain accountable for reckless or intentional wrongdoing. The law, however, doesn't always line up with our common sense of ethicals and morals. We've been successful in the past holding employers and other companies fully accountable despite the workers' compensation laws, but unfortunately employers sometimes can get away with manslaughter. Over at reddit yesterday, ... Continue Reading

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The New Science of Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment

Between our catastrophic injury and birth injury practices, we spend a lot of time at the firm immersed in the science and medicine of brain damage. Just as consciousness and dualism have vexed philosophers for ages (* see my comment), the real causes and treatment of brain injury have remained elusive for generations. There's a reason for the phrase 'not exactly brain surgery' — brain surgery is notoriously unpredictable. After reading Jane Rosett's compelling article in The New York Times about 'starting again' after injuring her right temporal lobe in a car accident (sample: "traumatic brain injuries destroy connections between and ... Continue Reading

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NFL Players’ Brain Injury Medical Monitoring Class Action Already In Trouble

In retrospect, it's obvious: battering your brain and sustaining concussions on a regular basis as part of your job can have severe long-term consequences. I remember back when I played football in school that there was already a long-standing debate over the apparent safety of big, heavy helmets with wire face masks. At first blush, it seemed the answer to the broken noses, broken jaws, and facial and head laceration that had long plagued football was to use modern plastic injection-molding techniques and build bigger helmets with bigger face masks. More padding is safer than less padding, right? The helmets, ... Continue Reading

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Junk Science: Court Wrongly Holds Vinyl Chloride Can’t Cause Cancer

  [Update, May 31, 2013: The Pennsylvania Superior Court, reviewing the case on appeal, ordered the trial court to further explain the basis for entering nonsuit against the plaintiffs. It's not a victory, exactly, but it's a step in the right direction, and perhaps a prelude to reversal (or the trial judge reconsidering his opinion).]   Everyone remembers the “just one word” of advice in The Graduate: “plastics.” Most everyone has also heard the term “junk science,” coined as a smear against plaintiff’s experts in environmental contamination cases. The purpose the “junk science” campaign was obvious: huge corporations were finally ... Continue Reading

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Pennsylvania Legislature Puts Insurers Over Injury Victims

[Update: Unfortunately, the "Fair Share Act" passed. Stuart Carpey has some details.]   It’s that time of year again. As The Legal Intelligencer and other sources report, Pennsylvania’s joint and several liability laws — which ensure that the economic damage caused by negligent companies falls on insurers and other defendants proven to have been at fault rather than on injured plaintiffs — are on the chopping block again at the Pennsylvania General Assembly: At press time, the state House of Representatives was on its third consideration of House Bill 1, called the "Fair Share Act." The act would change Pennsylvania's doctrine ... Continue Reading

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Proving Bacterial Infection Injuries Through Circumstantial Evidence

A tragic story: SIOUX CITY -- A Sioux City bank has filed a personal-injury lawsuit on behalf of a Sioux City girl against the maker of a powdered infant formula, claiming the girl got seriously ill from drinking the reconstituted formula days after she was born in 2008. According to court documents, Security National Bank alleges the girl, Jeanine Kunkel, now nearly 3 years old, contracted neonatal Enterobacter sakazakii meningitis from the Similac formula made by Abbott Laboratories and suffered permanent brain damage. The bank, as the child's conservator, seeks monetary damages for her care, suffering and fear of future ... Continue Reading

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Proving Intoxication In Auto Accident Lawsuits Despite Legal Blood-Alcohol Levels

We personal injury lawyers see some recurring fact patterns, particularly for the spinal cord and brain injury cases. The fatigued tractor-trailer driver driving beyond the FMCSR hours. The fully loaded passenger van rollover. The scaffolding collapse at a construction site. Commercial vehicles and equipment drive our modern economy, but they do so with more than enough force to maim or to kill if not used carefully. But nothing beats alcohol, the “social lubricant,” which can turn even the most mundane situation into a crippling or fatal tragedy. Cars, guns, and bodies of water are inherently dangerous anyway — for any ... Continue Reading

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