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This is our legal blog. If you were seriously injured in an accident, you need to read here and learn about your Clearwater Florida Legal Rights!

Defective Cochlear Implants Marketed by Manufacturer for Years

Cochlear implants essentially perform an act of god — they allow the deaf to hear again. These amazing medical devices have changed the lives of many since their intervention for the better, and unfortunately, for the worst as well. A manufacturer of these implants, known as Advanced Bionics, marketed and sold defective cochlear implants for years, even after finding out about the defects.

Cochlear ImplantsThe model, HiRes 90K, had issues from the start according to a story published in March by the Today Show on NBC. The devices were found to have excessive moisture inside, resulting in frequent failure and sometimes in a strong shock to the victim. Problems were first reported internally all the way back in 2003, and it took the company until 2006 to finally recall the devices implanted. In 2008, Advanced Bionics made a $1.1 million settlement to the FDA, and denied any liability. Then, just last year, the company was found to be in gross negligence and ordered to pay a patient who had the implant $7 million. This led to settlements on numerous other claims filed against the manufacturer.

Injuries from the defective implant resulted from severe electric shocks inside patients head. These shocks would throw patients to the ground, cause convulsions, vomiting, and result in permanent damage to the ear.

WHAT TO DO IF INJURED BY DEFECTIVE MEDICAL DEVICES IN FLORIDA

Medical devices are meant to help people, not hurt people. They have the power to heal and change people’s lives, and also can harm the people they are supposed to help as well. Medical devices can cause injury in multiple ways. They can have a poor and defective design, or they can be manufactured cheaply and with very little care. Also, as evidenced with the cochlear implant manufacturer Advanced Bionics, manufactures may also know about defects of their products and still continue to aggressively market that product to the public. Fortunately, in Florida and in the United States, those who are harmed from a defective medical device, such as those who had faulty cochlear implants, may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and the damages suffered.

At Pinellas County defective medical device law firm Dolman Law Group, we will make sure you are awarded the compensation that you are entitled to. We will never represent an insurance company. Many of the manufacturers of medical devices are large corporations with legal teams looking to discredit your claim. At Dolman Law Group, we have the resources to take on these manufacturing giants and win. We do not collect payment from you until we earn you the compensation you deserve.

It is important you hire an attorney experienced in navigating the complicated issues of a defective medical device law suit. Contact our experienced team of personal injury lawyers at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation on your case. Our attorneys are available 24/7 for our clients, and even provide each attorney’s cell phone number on their business cards.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/product-liability/

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GM’s second quarter report important for Florida motorists

Imagine this: you’re driving down I-275 in your trusty General Motors vehicle. The sun is shining your favorite song comes on the radio. Surprisingly, there is very little traffic (well, for Tampa standards). The day is going great. Then, all of a sudden, silence. You realize the engine has turned off, yet you’re still travelling at 65 m.p.h. You try to turn off the road; however, steering has become nearly impossible. The next thing you know, you’re involved in a collision in which you suffer severe injuries because the air bag did not deploy.

faulty ignition switchHave you unfortunately suffered from a similar event? If so, you may be entitled to compensation. General Motors has been under fire for all of 2014 for the discovery of the widespread faulty ignition switch in their vehicles. The ignition switch would allow the key to slip and turn into the off position, thus resulting in the shutting down of the engine, and the disabling of power steering and airbags. GM knew about this problem going back 10 years, yet refused to do anything about it until recently. The Associated Press recently released GM’s second quarter report to securities regulators. Here are the statistics as they appear from that report:
  • 60 recalls issued by GM this year.
  • 29 million vehicles recalled by the company in 2014.
  • 2.6 million small cars, including the Chevrolet Cobalt, that GM recalled in February to fix faulty ignition switches that it knew about for more than a decade.
  • 17.3 million GM vehicles recalled for ignition-related defects. Since the February recall, GM has issued five more recalls of ignitions as well as keys that may easily bump out of position. The latest switch recall, of 7.2 million midsize cars including the Chevrolet Malibu, happened June 30.
  • 13 people died in crashes related to ignition switch problems in small cars.
  • 3 people died in crashes in the vehicles recalled June 30. GM doesn't yet know if the ignition switches caused the crashes.
  • $400 million is the estimated cost of compensating victims of crashes caused by faulty small-car ignition switches
  • GM spent $3.48 billion in first half on recalls, loaner cars and additional warranty coverage in North America.
  • 32 wrongful death and injury lawsuits pending against GM as of July 23.
  • 45 state attorneys general investigating the GM ignition switch problems.
  • 95 class-action lawsuits against GM alleging that cars have lost value because of the recalls.
  • 1997 was the oldest model year of a vehicle recalled for a faulty ignition. The 1997 Chevrolet Malibu was included in the June 30 recall of 7.6 million vehicles.
  • 2014 was the latest model year of a vehicle recalled for a faulty ignition. The 2014 Cadillac CTS was recalled because its key can unintentionally rotate and turn the ignition off.
INJURED IN PINELLAS COUNTY AS A RESULT OF A FAULTY IGNITION SWITCH?

At Dolman Law Group, we pride ourselves on holding the negligent responsible, even giant corporations like General Motors. We are not afraid to take cases to trial, and have the resources to do so if required.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident as a result of a faulty ignition switch, contact our experienced team of lawyers today at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/product-liability/defective-vehicle/

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What are the Diagnostic Tests used for Traumatic Brain Injuries

Due to the long term effects, difficulty of diagnosis, and varying degrees of severity, Traumatic Brain Injuries are currently among the most frightening and serious injuries commonly associated with automobile, motorcycle, and trucking accidents.

brain MRIBecause of the possible repercussions of a Traumatic Brain Injury, diagnosis is of the utmost importance. However, certain types, such as Diffuse Axonal Injuries, of Traumatic Brain Injuries are exceedingly difficult to diagnose with the use of only CT and MRI scans because the damage to the brain is microscopic, rather than macroscopic. In order to diagnose Diffuse Axonal Injuries, a doctor or radiologist must notice small bleeds in the corpus callousem or cerebral cortex.

Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI)

Susceptibility Weighted Imaging uses a type of contrast in MRI different from traditional imaging techniques. A phase image and a magnitude image of the brain are taken. These two images are then combined to create an enhanced contrast magnitude image referred to as a SWI. SWI is particularly helpful for the evaluation of diffuse axonal injury (DAI), which are not routinely visible on CT or conventional MRI sequences. “SWI exploits the magnetic susceptibility differences between tissues, resulting in phase differences between regions containing paramagnetic deoxygenated blood products (deoxyhemoglobin, intracellular methemoglobin, and hemosiderin) and surrounding tissue. The signal-intensity cancellation in the magnitude images and the additional suppression from the SWI filtered-phase images produce a hypointense signal in areas of acute and early subacute hemorrhage.” SWI is crucial in the detection of DAI due to the difficulty typical diagnostic studies have of revealing such injuries. SWI is typically run at a high resolution and is sensitive to gray matter/white matter boundaries which allow the radiologist or interpreting physician to see the microscopic bleeds which other diagnostic tools tend to miss.

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)

DTI is a form of Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI), which is a well-established magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method for diagnosing cerebral ischemia. DTI allows direct examination of aspects of the tissue microstructure and provides a detailed view of the brain, and enables mapping of the orientation of white-matter tracts. DTI has been shown to adeptly image the brain’s white matter structures (such as the Corpus Callosum), the most important location of pathology in TBI. Additionally, DTI allows physicians to quantify white matter integrity (and because TBI frequently involves white matter injury) and therefore can be used to demonstrate injuries and pathology which can be attributed to mild TBI.

Contact the Dolman Law Group for Brain Injury Questions

Clearwater traumatic brain injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group understand the life changing effect Traumatic Brain Injuries have on both the victims and their families. If you or a loved one have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, whether it be a Diffuse Axonal Injury or otherwise, as a result of a car accident or fall, contact us today. We will never relent in our advocacy for you, our client, against an insurance company and fight to ensure that you are compensated properly for the damages suffered.

Our teams of experienced attorneys are constantly keeping up to date with the latest scientific and technological developments in the medical field. Not only do we have the resources to take on the biggest insurance providers, we also have the resources to ensure that you received the proper medical diagnosis and treatment.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/brain-injury/

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Trucking accidents on the rise: How the Intersection of Increased Traffic, Decreased Employment, and Increased Workload have Combined to Endanger America’s Roadways

The trucking industry is a massive and vital industry that delivers goods across North America in times that even our parents wouldn’t have dreamed of just fifty years ago. As a result of this explosion of the trucking industry, America’s roadways are choked with an unprecedented volume of trucking traffic. However, despite incentivized pay rates and solid benefits packages, the demand for new truckers remains largely unfulfilled. The long hours, the distance, and the negative social stigma sometimes associated with truckers makes young people shy away from the profession.

trucking accidentsThis has resulted in an extremely high turnover rate in young truckers, which has led to an increasingly aged trucker workforce. All this in a time when demand for truck drivers is at an all-time high. The massive demand for truck drivers has driven some companies and drivers to push themselves to work more hours, with less rest, and often with the aid of dangerous stimulants. The ageing truck force has not dealt adequately with this increased demand, and has sometimes resorted to breaking statutory provisions designed to ensure that drivers reach a minimal level of sleep so that they can safely operate their vehicles. See, Drivers’ Association v. FMCSA, et. al, 494 F.3d 188 (D.C. Court of Appeals 2007).

These dangerous practices have led to a sharp increase in the number of trucking accidents in the U.S., 500,000 annually, and, tragically, some 5,000 deaths last year alone. In these accidents, there are many possible liable parties: the original tortfeasor (the trucker), the trucking company they’re employed with, the company renting the truck, or even the municipality in which the accident occurred. See eg, Carolina Casualty Insurance Co. v. Panther II Transportation, Inc., 402 Fed. Appx. 62 (6th DCA 2010).

Obtaining a Fair Settlement after a Tractor Trailer Accident is Complex

Victims of these accidents are left devastated and may even die, which gives rise to potential personal injury and wrongful death suits. The legal issues surrounding these cases are varied and are highly technical, but usually involve a form of negligent entrustment or vicarious liability. Due to the confusing and difficult prospect of bringing suit against multiple responsible parties, across multiple jurisdictions, with varied legal distinctions to be made, it is a burdensome task for a non-lawyer of sound mental and emotional state to successfully recover for their damages from a trucking accident. However, it is rarely the case that a person recently involved in a trucking accident, or the family of a person who died in one, is in a state of sound health emotionally and mentally.

When someone is injured in a trucking accident, the costs to the victim mount quickly and insurance companies and trucking companies can oftentimes simply “wait out” their victims and thus avoid responsibility. It is unfortunate that the judicial system allows these situations to persist, but it is an imperfect system and there will always be people who fall through the cracks. This is why it is so absolutely vital that victims of trucking accidents obtain aggressive, effective legal counsel.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a trucking accident, please do not hesitate to the experienced Clearwater Litigation Firm of Dolman Law Group.

Dolman Law Group
800 N. Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900
http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/truck-accident/

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The Games Florida Insurance Companies Play: What You Need to Know

Whether you’re an unrepresented person or an attorney representing an accident victim, dealing with insurance companies can be a frustrating process. For the unrepresented accident victim, understanding the insurance process is overwhelming. Over the years, I have become very familiar with the tactics used by insurance companies in handling an injury claim; regardless of whether it’s a bodily injury or UM case, or PIP for a medical provider. While this article is not intended to be an exhaustive seminar, the goal is to highlight and educate the public on what to expect when you have an insurance claim.

Insurance Companies Routinely Delay Payments

Delay is the biggest method utilized to make it seem as if your case has fallen into a bottomless abyss. Why the delay?

First, insurance companies have a statutory period to investigate claims; per statute it’s 30 days for PIP absent reasonable proof the insurer is not responsible. When the insurance company (the injured person’s and/or the at-fault) receives a claim, they must act diligently and efficiently in investigating the claim. The investigation phase takes the form of recorded statements, phone calls to persons involved and/or their representing attorneys, securing the police report, determining coverage and fault, property damage issues, sending out various forms, and sometimes examinations under oath. To the insurance company’s credit, these are necessary steps that must be taken. insurance company gamesHowever, when investigations drag on for months, the wheels of progress grind to a halt and proactive measures must be taken. If coverage is disputed, consider a declaratory action to determine coverage. Cooperation or the lack thereof with parties involved is another stumbling block to insurance investigation and can result in unreasonable delay. For unrepresented persons, trying to figure what to say and whom to talk to can be confusing and unnerving, which is why having an experienced personal injury attorney managing your case is key. We will aid in the insurance companies investigation to the extent necessary.

Aside from coverage investigation, insurance companies tend to delay cases for investigation of injuries. Consider this common scenario: a person gets injured in auto accident and has a prior history of similar accidents with injuries. Insurance companies on both sides will undoubtedly delay the pre-suit settlement process by requesting and awaiting prior medical records to determine pre-existing injuries that could diminish their exposure. Delays of this sort can seemingly drag a case into oblivion. Even once the records are received by the insurance company, delay is inevitable as reviewing the records, whether by the adjuster or a peer review physician, will undoubtedly drag out the process.

Another common reason for delay is inattentive adjusters who are often overworked and responsible for hundreds of claims. The unfortunate result is a back-log of claims that go unnoticed for quite some time. Even 30-day demand letters can go unnoticed. Experience dictates the most effective way to get your case noticed is to immediately file suit. As a corollary, company hierarchy can bog down the claims process. Often the initial adjuster has limited settlement authority and must seek approval when a demand is made above their limit. Likewise, the transferring of adjusters to existing claims further bogs down the process and creates the feeling of no end in sight.

Litigating Against Insurance Companies when Claims are Processed Incorrectly

While litigation is more structured then the pre-suit phase, the same dilatory tactics are seen. For example, endless discovery battles involving mundane issues, issues with coordinating hearings and depositions, disputes over privileged documentation, third party subpoenas, scheduling several months in the future, and simple inaction.

Scheduling is by far the biggest obstacle. When times need to be coordinated amongst multiple parties it can result in simple matters taking days to resolve, with the event happening months in the future. The unfortunate result: an endless drag towards settlement. The best way I’ve found to combat this problem is to implement clear policies about scheduling. For example, after two good faith attempts to coordinate a matter, a unilateral setting of the matter should be done. While unilateral settings are often frowned upon as bad-form, a case cannot drag on over scheduling issues and endless follow-ups. A clear record of attempts should always be kept in the event a court hearing arises.

Inaction by opposing counsel is often frustrating and seen as a dilatory tactic. Healthy and productive relationships with opposing counsel are preferred and beneficial to both sides. However, sometimes the tree needs to be shaken to get the other side to wake-up and move the case along; methods vary from firm to firm but should always be done respectfully.

As stated before, this article is not intended to be an exhaustive discussion of dilatory tactics and strategies utilized by insurance companies. The claims process ought to be swift and efficient, but that is not always the case. Understanding the reasons for delays and coming up with effective combating strategies will ensure an injury claim moves along as steadily as possible. If you have an injury claim in the Tampa Bay area, contact the litigation team at Dolman Law Group for a consultation and free evaluation of your case.  We can be reached at 727-451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

http://www.dolmanlaw.com/pip-personal-injury-protection-attorney/

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