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4 Common Types of Wrongful Death with Famous Examples

05-04-21    

While any death in the family is extremely hard for families and friends involved, they can be even more complicated when caused by someone else’s ineptitude or carelessness. Wrongful death is a term defined as when an individual’s death is directly caused by the wrongful actions or negligence of a person or business entity.

Wrongful deaths can be determined through numerous factors and situations. The following outlined are the most often committed wrongful death scenarios. Plus, a sneak peek into famous cases where a wrongful death attorney was needed. Wrongful death settlements, are normally in the millions of dollars, regardless of who you are, so, any celebrity wrongful death cases don’t receive special treatment. But we will highlight some cases surrounding them that went down in the history books.

Medical Malpractice

The overwhelming majority of doctors and nurses are highly skilled, however, they’re still human and mistakes do happen. These mistakes can occur when a medical personnel cuts corners, neglects to follow correct procedures, or simply overlooks something completely.

In medical malpractice, the most common wrongful death causes are either a misdiagnosis of a condition or a failure to diagnose a particular condition. Surgical errors or mishaps when treating conditions are also common causes of wrongful death in medicine.

Famous Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Cases:

  • Hulk Hogan: Sued for malpractice involving unnecessary spine surgery
  • John Ritter: Family sued the hospital for wrongful death
  • Andy Warhol: Doctors overloaded him with fluids
  • Michael Jackson: The doctor helped him overdose on a cocktail of drugs including propofol

Car Accidents

Car accidents are actually the most common cause of wrongful death because of the sheer number of drivers, how often people drive, and the risks involved. 

The grand majority of car accident fatalities are the result of driver’s negligence, whether it be speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, or not paying attention to the road. If any of these negligent conditions apply, the driver can be liable for the deaths of anyone else involved in the accident.

If the accident occurred due to issues with the road, then the city or county could be liable. There are even such situations in which an accident occurred and neither driver was negligent, although these are rare wrongful death cases.

Famous Wrongful Death lawsuits from Car Accidents

  • Venus Williams – In 2018, Venus Williams was in a car crash at a Palm Beach Gardens intersection where the passenger in the car that hit her passed away. His wife had been driving the car that hit Williams. Jerome Barson died two weeks later. Barson’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Williams. However, the surveillance footage of the intersection was reviewed, and Williams wasn’t in violation of any laws. The case was dismissed.

  • Actor Paul Walker’s Daughter Settles With Porsche – In October 2017, the daughter of late Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker settled her wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche. Walker was driving a Porsche Carrera GT when he collided with a tree in Santa Clarita on the night of November 30, 2013. The car caught fire and both Walker and Roger Rodas, the car’s driver, died at the scene.

Meadow Walker’s wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche alleged that the car’s engine and lack of safety features prevented her father from getting out of the crash alive. The lawsuit said the actor was trapped because of the vehicle’s seat belt design and was alive for a minute and 20 seconds after the collision before the car caught fire. Meadow Walker and Porsche decided to keep the terms of the settlement confidential.

Defective Products aka Product Liability Cases

If a person dies because of using a defective product, the manufacturer of the product is then held liable. Product liability is one of the reasons why manufacturers spend so much time testing products to make sure they’re safe. Some common examples of this type of wrongful death include defective pharmaceutical products, toxic food products, unsafe children’s products, and defective automobiles.

Some of the Biggest Recent Product Liability Cases

Since 2018, there have been product liability cases that have paid out billions of dollars to claimants. These include cases against:

  • Bayer and Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, which contains cancer-causing glyphosate
  • Johnson & Johnson’s talc products, which contain traces of toxic asbestos
  • Hoffmann-LaRoche’s acne drug Accutane, which failed to warn of possible gastrointestinal side-effects
  • Pacific Gas & Electric’s utility equipment, which caused fires that killed dozens of people.

Accidents at Work

Higher-risk occupations such as dangerous manual labor and construction jobs have higher instances of workplace fatalities, but a wrongful death can occur at the office or outside work if the employer has put an employee in a dangerous situation. One example of an accident happening outside of work is a nurse who was forced to work multiple 12-hour shifts and then ended up in a fatal car accident on the way home due to exhaustion.

5 of the worst workplace disasters in History
  • The Halifax Explosion – 2,000 dead, 9,000 injured

On the morning of the 6th December 1917, in Halifax, Canada, the world bore witness to the largest man-made pre-atomic explosion in history.

  • The Bhopal Gas Leak – Up to 16,000 dead

The Bhopal disaster took place on the night of the 2nd of December 1984 at Union Carbide India Limited. Union Carbide India was a pesticide plant located in Bhopal and this disaster is considered to be the world’s worst industrial disaster.

  • The Sinking of the Titanic – 1,503 dead

On the night of the 14th of April, 1912 the RMS Titanic, otherwise known as the unsinkable ship, hit an iceberg and sunk on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic ocean. In total 1,503 people died in the incident out of the 2,208 passengers and crew.

  • Honkeiko Colliery Mining Disaster – 1,549 dead

This disaster took place on April 26, 1942, during the height of WW2, in the Japanese captured Honkeiko Colliery Coal Mine in the eastern Liaoning province in China. On that day there was a gas explosion in one of the shafts beginning what would be known as the worst mining disaster of all time.

 


Common Causes of Car Crashes in Ohio

12-29-20    

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there have been, year to date, 218,981 crashes in the state of Ohio. Of those accidents, 35,885, unfortunately, resulted in injuries or death. When compared to 2019, it appears there has been a significant drop in crashes and injuries this year, but do not be fooled, this decrease is largely due to stay-at-home orders and businesses working from home, not because people have become safer drivers. 

During the height of nationwide lockdowns, March-May on average saw two-hundred fewer accidents a month. Having said that, two-hundred thousand accidents to date is still substantial. Additionally, even with the lockdown orders, there have been 1,161 who have died in a car accident this year, or 67 more than 2019, with the majority taking place in Franklin and Cuyahoga county, the two most populous counties in the state.

Unsurprisingly, alcohol was the single largest contributing factor to fatal accidents year over year. 28% of all fatalities and 4.2% of all crashes involved alcohol-impaired drivers. While alcohol was one of the largest contributors to fatalities, speeding was one of the largest contributors to wrecks across the state, with 26,300 incidents related. Below are the next top four causes of car crashes in Ohio:

Failure to Yield – The failure to yield is defined as a driver not yielding or stopping for a vehicle or pedestrian that has the right of way. These accidents can often be deadly and are normally the reason for a car being “t-boned”. 28,800 accidents have been caused by people failing to give the right of way.

Commercial Related – A commercial related accident describes an accident that involves someone carrying goods or a fare-paying persons. These accidents commonly involve 18 wheelers and can often be deadly. Over 12,500 accidents this year can be categorized as commercially related. 

Operating a Vehicle while Impaired (OVI) – When people think of impaired driving they may immediately think of drunk drivers. Few people remember that driving on certain over-the-counter medications, such as Benadryl, can actually cause you to become impaired, in addition to other drugs like marijuana. With around 11,500 accidents attributed to impairment, as the legalization of mentally impairing drugs continue, we can expect to see this number rise.

Deer-Related – 15,375 accidents this year are directly related to deer. Did you know that annually deer cause over one billion dollars in vehicle damage? While not all accidents with deer can be avoided, drowsiness, or distracted driving sometimes leads to slow response time and contribute to these accidents.

Contact the Experienced Car Wreck Lawyers at Rinehardt Injury Attorneys 

One person is injured every six minutes in Ohio due to a car accident. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident and are unsure what to do next, we recently wrote a blog answering questions related to what you should do after being involved in an accident. While our offices are located in Mansfield and Columbus, we proudly represent all of Ohio, so if you’re in need of representation or have any questions please contact us today.


I Just Got Hit by a Car—What Should I Do?

11-23-20    

Unfortunately, car accidents are common occurrences in Ohio. The most recent car accident statistics for Ohio provide that in just one year there were over 290,000 accidents and 72,000 of which resulted in injury. It is important to know the steps you should take if you are involved in an accident. Our team has gathered information and provided what you should do if you’re placed in this situation.

Safety First

Don’t panic. Try to stay calm and evaluate your surroundings. If your airbags have deployed, the air inside your car will be cloudy with powder from the airbags. Many people think the airbag powder is smoke and then rush to get out of the car fearing their car is on fire. You should only get out of your car when it is safe to do so. As soon as you can, put on your four-way flashers to warn other drivers.

If your car has come to rest in a high traffic area and you are physically able, consider getting out of your car and getting safely to the berm or median while you wait for the police to get there.

Call the Police

Call 911 to alert the police. You should call even if you think someone else may have already called. Stay on the phone with the 911 operator until the police are sure they know your location. You should call even if the other driver suggests just exchanging insurance information instead of calling the police. Sometimes it takes the police a long time to get there and you might be tempted to leave—don’t, because having a police report is going to be important to prove what happened and make sure that you are treated fairly when you submit an insurance claim for your car and your injuries.

Tell the Other Driver not to Leave

assessing damaage after car accidentEven though you may not think you are hurt, you should tell the other driver that you have called the police and that they should stay until the police arrive. If the other driver starts to take off, try to take a quick photo on your phone of the license plate. Ohio law requires the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident to stop and remain at the scene to provide his or her information to the police and the other driver. See Ohio Revised Code Section 4549.02.

When the police get there, make sure the officer takes down your account of what happened and give the officer the names of any witnesses who you have talked to.

Ask anyone who stops to check on you to give you their names and phone numbers so that you can contact them if the other driver makes up a story about what happened. Many times, the driver at fault will apologize at the scene only to later tell his or her insurance company and the police a made-up version of what happened. Use your phone to take a bunch of pictures—of your car, the other driver’s car, and the scene of the crash. Your pictures may end up being important evidence. Remember no one at the scene is looking out for your interests except for you.

Get Medical Help

Even if you only feel shook up, you should get medical treatment at the emergency room or urgent care as soon as possible. After an accident, you are going to have a lot of adrenaline-pumping, which may mask injuries. Lots of times you think you are okay, only to have serious pain later. You may have broken bones, an injury to a disc in your back or neck, a torn rotator cuff, or a tear of the labrum of the hip. Many of these serious injuries start off with relatively little pain. People with serious injuries often start out thinking it’s just a bruise or a minor strain.

After the emergency room or urgent care, if your pain gets worse, you must see your family doctor or go back to the emergency room because a more serious injury may have been missed at your first visit.

Contact the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

You can get the other driver’s insurance information from that police officer at the scene or from the accident report once it is completed. You should then call the other driver’s insurance company to set up your claim. When setting up the claim, only give basic information—your name, where it happened, where your car is now located—so that their adjuster can evaluate the damage.

The insurance company may try to record you while they ask you questions about what happened or what your injuries are. Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company. The insurance company is going to try to get you to say something so it can put all or part of the blame for the accident on you. You shouldn’t let the insurance company record anything until you have spoken to a lawyer. The insurance company will pester you with calls and emails and even threaten not to pay your claim. Don’t cave into these hardball tactics. The insurance company is just trying to increase its profits by trying to invent a reason not to pay your claim.

Get Legal Advice

The insurance company has lots of money and resources. When it is you against the insurance company it is not a fair fight. Contact a lawyer even if you are not sure it is necessary. An attorney specializing in accident cases will be able to stand up to the insurance company and look out for your best interests. A lawyer can make sure that you get paid for everything you are entitled to—things the insurance company won’t tell you about. At Rinehardt Injury Attorneys our team is experienced and has been successful in handling car accident cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Can a Car Crash Cause Tinnitus?

10-03-19    

male having ear pain touching his painful head isolated on gray backgroundTinnitus, originating from the Latin word ‘tinnire’ (‘to ring’), is a perception of sound in proximity to the head with the absence of an external source. It is usually described as buzzing, ringing, roaring, whistling or hissing. Tinnitus may be intermittent, pulsing or continuous, and is at best annoying, but more often is quite distressing. It is estimated that approximately 15–20% of the world population suffer from tinnitus. For about 25% of those affected, the condition interferes with daily activity, with 1–3% of cases severely affecting quality of life. Severe tinnitus is frequently associated with depression, anxiety and insomnia.

There are many causes of tinnitus, it commonly occurs as a result of head or neck trauma. In fact, 17% of all cases of tinnitus are associated with heal or neck injury.[1]

In a study at a tinnitus clinic, 297 out of 2400 patients reported that their tinnitus started within two weeks of a head or neck injury. The vast majority of these patients reported that tinnitus began immediately after or within 24 hours of their injury. 72% of the patients were male and 56% of the injuries occurred as a result of motor vehicle accidents.[2] The trauma patients also had significantly higher Tinnitus Severity Index scores.[3] Compared with other tinnitus patients at the clinic, trauma patients reported more problems sleeping, relaxing, concentrating, thinking clearly, and remembering things.[4]

In the study, almost all of the trauma patients experienced rapid, sometimes immediate, tinnitus onset by contrast with non-trauma patients.[5] The trauma patients in the study had experienced tinnitus, on average for 2.3 years before presenting to the clinic as opposed to non-trauma patients who, on average, experienced tinnitus for 6.9 years before presenting to the clinic.[6] The reason for this is that tinnitus of shorter duration (sudden onset) is often more severe than tinnitus that has been present for a longer time. Tinnitus in non-trauma patients is gradual onset allowing them to develop coping skills and strategies to improve sleep patterns and stress management.[7]

Tinnitus is associated with marked irritability, agitation, stress, depression, insomnia and interference with daily life.[8] There is no approved drug in the market that provides replicable, long term reduction of tinnitus impact in excess of placebo effects.[9] Current treatment strategy is aimed at controlling underlying disorders and suppressing the perception of tinnitus with the primary goal to improve quality of life rather than absolute cure. Unfortunately, there is no regimen that has shown complete efficacy.[10]

[1] Atik, Alp; Pathology and Treatment of Tinnitus: An Elsusive Disease; Indian J Otolayrngol Head Neck Surg (January 2014) 66(Supp 1): S1-S5; Attached hereto.
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id,
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Atik at S2.
[9] Id.
[10] Id.

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