Large Verdicts in Truck Accident Cases on the Rise

Posted in Trucking Accidents

Now that the holiday season is upon us, traffic and congestion on roadways big and small is at a peak. Trucks and tractor trailers remain a common site on interstate highways and local roads. Recent data suggests that truckers are finding it harder to obtain liability insurance to cover their fleets. Some insurance companies have left the market in response to several large personal injury truck accident settlements that have been made over the past few years.

The Department of Transportation has reported that although the number of people killed in accidents with large trucks declined 20% over the past decade, the number actually increased last year. Furthermore, there has been an increase over the past few years in the number of large verdicts where juries award tens of millions of dollars or more to families of truck accident victims.

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Is an Assault at Work Compensable Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Statute?

Posted in Workers' Compensation

Generally speaking, a person who is assaulted at work to receive workers’ compensation benefits must show that the assault is related to the employment relationship and not from a purely personal relationship. If the assault arises out of a clearly personal dispute, the injured employee may be barred from obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. The injured party may, however, be able to pursue a common law negligence claim against the co-worker who perpetuated the assault.

In a recent case, Lesley Joseph v. Monmouth County, Mr. Joseph appealed a workers’ compensation Judge’s decision to dismiss his claim after he was assaulted by another employee at work. The Judge found that the assault lacked any connection to the workers’ employment, as it arose out of the worker’s involvement with the other employee’s pyramid investment scheme. The injured worker appealed arguing that the fact that the assault happened in the workplace was enough to make it arise “out of and in the course of” employment.

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Nursing Home Patients Contract Deadly Bacteria from IV Syringes

Posted in Medical Malpractice

Contaminated syringes have been blamed for a deadly outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia bacteria that has infected nearly 150 people since August, including 52 cases in New Jersey. According the CDC “the majority of these cases have occurred in patients residing at long-term care or rehabilitation facilities who were receiving intravenous (IV) fluids and/or antibiotics through central venous catheters.” The outbreak may be linked to the deaths of six people who contracted the bacteria in the states of New York and Pennsylvania. The locations and number of known infections are detailed in the chart below:

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Are New Jersey Hospitals Safe?

Posted in Medical Malpractice

Some hospitals in New Jersey are doing a good job at health and safety—but many are still struggling to create a safe environment for patients. The November release of the Leapfrog Group’s “hospital report card” shows New Jersey tied with Texas at #17 in rankings for public health and safety.

Even though 25% of the New Jersey hospitals scored an “A” grade, the bad news for New Jersey is that 47% of the 68 hospitals reviewed received a grade of “C” or below. Additionally only three of the five hospitals that previously delivered straight “A” marks in the report were able to maintain their “perfect” health and safety status. These are Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, and Jersey City Medical Center.

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E-Cigarette Class Action Suit Stymied by Federal Law

Posted in E-Cigarette, Product Liability

A class action failure-to-warn lawsuit against e-cigarette companies was thrown out by the Central District Court of California last week. The suit, filed by plaintiffs from CA, IL, and NY, included claims that the accused companies, including Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Reynolds American Inc. (which bought Lorillard in 2014), deceptively advertised the health benefits of e-cig products over traditional cigarettes.

The judge ruled federal law superceded state regulations citing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s rule making e-cigarettes subject to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Under Federal law tobacco products only need to carry a warning regarding the addictive properties of nicotine. States cannot mandate stricter labeling requirements.

The only claim that appears to have survived is Continue Reading

52 in NJ Contract Infection Due to Contaminated Syringes

Posted in Medical Malpractice

It has been reported that the State of New Jersey is now aware of 52 cases of B.cepacia infection in 2016. These cases are linked to an outbreak being investigated by health officials on the Federal and State level.

B.cepacia, or Burkholderia cepacia, is a complex of bacteria usually found in soil and water, and it can survive for prolonged periods of time in a moist environment. People who are most susceptible to this infection typically have health problems such as weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, particularly cystic fibrosis.

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Workers’ Compensation: 5 Most Common Injuries

Posted in Workers' Compensation

According to the Insurance Journal, the five most common Workers’ Compensation claim injuries include:

  • Strains and sprains (30%)
  • Cuts or punctures (19%)
  • Contusions (12%)
  • Inflammation (5%)
  • Fractures (5%)”

The Department of Labor also lists strains and sprains as the top workplace injury. Many of these injuries take place while working in traditional blue collar jobs. For example:

  • Strains and sprains can occur from overexertion in material handling jobs.
  • Eye injuries most often happen while working in construction or manufacturing jobs.
  • Object impact and injuries from machinery or tools often arise in warehouses, manufacturing, and construction jobs.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Banned on all U.S. Airplanes

Posted in Product Liability

Recently Samsung axed its entire line of Galaxy Note 7 phones because, despite efforts to replace the original batch with working models, they were unable to correct the battery defect that causes and injuries. Despite the company’s heartfelt plea for users to return the phones, social media reports showed that some people wanted to the keep the dangerous items. In response to the ongoing danger, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Friday banned the phone on all U.S. airplanes. Many international airlines have instituted similar bans.

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Summer Camps for Burn Victims—Register Now for 2017

Posted in Burn Injuries

What do you think of when you hear the words “summer camp?” Fun, adventure, new friends? Summer camp invokes memories of all of these things. But for children with burn injuries, summer camp can feel like it is off the agenda—at least until they are fully healed. Luckily this is no longer true—there are a growing number of options in the form of specialized burn camps that cater to the needs of pediatric burn victims.

Children with burn injuries sometimes have difficulty performing common tasks due to physical damage. Some have problems with social interaction due to pain, isolation, or scars. Others may require continuous treatment—sometimes daily; sometimes weekly or monthly. Summer camps are seldom set up to meet the needs of these specialized functional and medical requirements. This is where the burn camp comes in.

Camp Susquehanna is one of these specialized summer burn camps. Continue Reading

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Burn Survivors

Posted in Burn Injuries

While the physical injuries caused by burns often receive the greatest attention from medical staff, the psychological and psychiatric injuries caused by burns cannot be overstated. As reported in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, more than 90% of burn victims experience some symptoms of stress within the first week of the injury and more than 45% develop chronic signs of stress that can be categorized as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after one year. Approximately one third of survivors of major burn injuries suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being discharged from the burn center.

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