When someone goes in for a serious surgical procedure, like a hip replacement, they have several reasonable expectations:
Sadly, those very simple and fair expectations are frequently not met, resulting in serious injury (and even death) for many unsuspecting patients. In fact, when medical devices involved in the procedure are unsafe, it is not uncommon for hundreds or even thousands of patients to suffer serious harm. To illustrate the point one need look no further than the high-profile example of defective metal-on-metal hip implant devices manufactured by a company called DePuy.
In August of 2010 a division of Johnson & Johnson known as DePuy Orthopaedics issued a recall on two hip replacement systems: the ASR™ XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. These were metal “joint and socket” devices that were implanted into patients during hip replacement surgeries. The Hip Resurfacing System was actually not approved in the United States, but the ASR™ XL Acetabular System was available everywhere.
The recall was issued after vociferous calls from advocates following studies which suggested the products failed at far higher rates than acceptable. As many as two to three patients out of every ten who received the product may ultimately suffer harm. Patients who have the defective hips experience pain, discomfort, swelling, and many ultimately have trouble walking. For some a risky (and costly) hip repair surgery is necessary.
Design flaws seem to be at the heart of the problem. In some cases the implant is dislodged from the bone around the hip. This causes severe pain and may cause bone fractures. Additionally, both the “ball” and “socket” portions of the device are made of metal. At times, the rubbing of these two metallic pieces can cause damage, releasing small particles into the bloodstream. Adverse reactions and fluid build up can be spurred by those particles, resulting in swelling, muscle loss, bone damage, and more.
The bottom line: Patients may experience a myriad of very serious problems as a result of defects with these DePuy hip implants.
Sadly, many Floridians are still feeling the effects of this defective product. The devices were used as recently as two and a half years ago, meaning that some local residents who received the implant may not yet be showing signs of problems. But the device could fail in the next few years.
South Florida residents should be aware that product liability laws and basic negligence principles may provide them avenues to recover for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more as a result of receiving this defective medical device. Thousands of Depuy implant lawsuits have already been filed, and many more are expected. These suits usually alleged negligence on the part of the company for failing to keep patients safe and allowing the poorly designed product to be used on thousands.
In fact, the first of these cases recently went to trial. After hearing the evidence about the injuries suffered by the plaintiff in that case and the actions of the company, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $8.3 million for the injured patient. That amount was only for compensatory damages. Many suspect that future verdicts may result in juries also awarding punitive damages for the company’s conduct.
If you or someone you know may have been harmed in this way, act quickly to protect your
rights. Contact Baker, Zimmerman, and Perez using our form below, or call us at 954-509-1900.
One of the best parts about living in South Florida is the (nearly) year round access to your pool. As we move through the heart of spring and into the summer, the pool becomes more and more attractive as a nice escape from the summer sun. And while your pool or spa is generally a nice place for the family to play, every year, hundreds of children under the age of 15 suffer drowning and non-fatal submersion injuries.
According to Pool and Spa Submersion: Estimated Injuries and Reported Fatalities Report from the CPSC, drowning deaths for children under the age of 15 averaged 385 annually between 2005 and 2007. 75% of those deaths involved children under 5, and 67% of those drownings involved children between 1 and 3 years old. In addition, there was an average of 4,200 pool or spa-related, emergency submersion injuries for children younger than 15 years of age between 2007 and 2009. Florida leads the country in childhood drownings, with the majority of these accidents occurring between May and August.
Most, if not all, of these tragedies could have been prevented with pool safety precautions and general safeguarding of the swimming area. Not surprisingly, 44% of drownings occur at home, while 23% occur at a family or friends home. The most important safety measure is to make sure your children are always within arms’ reach when around a swimming area. As a parent of a young child, I am all too familiar with how quickly arm’s reach turns into a chase. That is why it is essential to install a pool fence, provide your children with swim lessons and to learn CPR.
Unfortunately, supervision, gates and lessons are not always enough. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act is named after, a 7-year old girl who drowned after she was trapped under water by the suction from a hot tub drain. Graeme, as she was called, was a member of her community swim and diving team, and was able to swim without assistance since she was 3 years old. In June 2002, Graeme was caught in a hot tub drain, whose suction was so strong even her mother and two men could not pull her out. Finally, the drain cover broke, but Graeme had already drowned. After her tragic death, her mother lobbied Congress to enact a law to require anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices. The statute was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, and was signed into law in December 2007.
The point of this article is not to ruin your summer fun, but to remind you of the inherent danger living in your backyard. By safeguarding your pool with the proper anti-entrapment drain covers and other preventative devices, you can greatly decrease the chance of a submersion related accident in your backyard. Many pool fences can be fitted with an alarm in case your children or their friends find their way into the pool. Most importantly, supervision is the best safety measure.
WHAM! You just got rear-ended in a car accident. Your head is spinning, your heart is racing and your
adrenaline is pumping. The last thing on your mind is whether the person who hit you has insurance,
as you are thankful to be walking out of the crash alive. The police officer hands you the “Exchange of
Information” sheet, which says that the other driver has a well-known insurance company. On the way
to the hospital you remember that your agent told you that you have “Full Coverage.”
What does full coverage even mean? In the State of Florida, the minimum insurance limit that a driver
must carry in order to purchase a tag is $10,000.00 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000.00
in Property Damage Liability. PIP is no-fault insurance that provides the insured with up to $10,000.00
in medical benefits, regardless of whether they caused the accident. Property Damage Liability only
extends to the property itself. That’s right: there is no requirement in Florida that a driver carry Bodily
Injury Liability insurance in the event they injure the other driver.
For many of us, insurance policies read like a foreign language. Most insurance carriers will provide
Bodily Injury (BI) Liability insurance, which protects you in the event that you injure someone else
in an accident. Unfortunately in South Florida, that might not be enough. In October 2012, the Sun-
Sentinel reported that nearly 24 percent of all drivers in Florida don’t have any insurance, putting
Florida in the top five states with uninsured motorists. South Florida has a reputation for an even higher
concentration of uninsured motorists. These statistics do not take into account the number of drivers
who carry $10,000.00-$50,000.00 in BI coverage. If you are seriously injured in an accident, these
minimal policies may not be enough to even cover your medical bills.
My mother always told me, “It’s not you I’m worried about, it’s the other drivers.” Fortunately, there is
a simple way to protect against those other drivers. Your insurance carrier must offer you Uninsured/
Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UM).
This variety of coverage takes the place of the other driver’s
absent insurance, or steps in right behind the other driver’s insufficient insurance. This insurance is so
important, that the insurance company must not only offer it to you, but you have to go out of your
way to reject the coverage. If you fail to reject UM insurance, by law, the insurance company must
automatically provide you with coverage equal to your BI limits. This underlines how essential it is to
carry UM insurance.
Don’t stop there. Ask your insurance company about “stacking” your UM coverage,
which multiplies the policy limits by the amount of cars insured under your policy. For example, if you
have $50,000.00 in UM coverage and three vehicles on your policy, then each driver insured under the
policy will have UM limits of $150,000.00.
There are other types of coverage that exist, but by carrying UM insurance, you are greatly increasing
the odds of protecting yourself. As always, we hope that you never need to make an insurance claim
or need a personal injury lawyer, but if you do make sure that you are really “fully” covered. For more
information, please visit our personal injury page.
In today’s world everyone watches the road carefully while driving. Certainly, no one is distracted by telephone calls, Facebook postings or Instagram. If this were only true. The truth is that the manner in which we use technology has made already dangerous activities, such as driving, even more dangerous. Our quest to stay “connected” may ultimately lead to the ultimate disconnection ?” loss of life. Consider the following statistics.
In 2011, approximately 23% of automobile collisions involved the use of a cell phone. In real numbers this equals approximately 1.3 million automobile accidents that could have been avoided. It translates into 1.3 million families being affected in one form or another due to the loss or injury of a loved one. Unfortunately, drivers do not appreciate the distraction caused by cell phone use.
If I were to ask the reader to put on a blindfold and drive in traffic the length of a football field at 55 MPH, the reader would tell this author he is insane. Well, this scenario is very similar to what is happening while someone is texting and driving. The minimal amount of time the driver’s attention is taken away from the road and traffic conditions is 5 seconds while texting. An automobile driving at the speed of 55MPH travels the length of a football field in 5 seconds.
Texting while driving increases the likelihood of a crash by 23 times. However, the use of the cell phone itself even while not texting can be dangerous as well. For example, dialing while driving makes the likelihood of an accident 2.8 times greater. Just talking on the cell phone increases your chances of an accident by 1.3 times more. Finally, the mere reaching for the cell phone increases the likelihood of an accident by 1.4 times.
The statistical data is staggering when you consider the number of accidents that could be avoided by simply putting the cell phone away while driving. Consider that 13% of drivers between the ages of 18-20 involved in an automobile accident admitted to texting or talking on their mobile devices at the time of the accident. Arguably, the number is greater because this statistic only represents those drivers who actually admitted to the use of the mobile phone while driving. Significantly, 52% of drivers that own cell phones have admitted to talking on the cell phone while driving and 34% say they have texted while driving. Again, this only represents the percentage of drivers that were honest about cell phone usage while driving.
“SURE I DO IT, BUT I’M VERY CAREFUL” OR “I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER AND NOTHING HAS EVER HAPPENED.” Please, do not be this person. Think about the number of lives you will affect if you cause an accident because you were using your cell phone. Nothing is more important than your life and safety, and the life and safety of those around you. YOU CAN ALWAYS RETURN A CALL OR A TEXT, BUT YOU CAN NEVER RETURN A LIFE!
As always, if you are involved in an accident contact a qualified attorney immediately. A competent attorney specializing in auto accidents will always investigate cell phone usage in evaluating your case. REMEMBER DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE. If it is so important that you must send that text — PULL OVER to a safe place before you endanger yourself and others. Drive safely and keep your eyes on the road!