Articles Posted in Personal Injury

A hip replacement surgery is no simple task, but it is a necessity for thousands of Americans every year. Hip replacements can improve quality of life, but they can also cause further medical issues, especially if the hip replacement was an improperly designed product that led to a recall. If you or a loved one has suffered as the result of a metal hip replacement which was later recalled, contact the Cambridge personal injury firm of Altman & Altman LLP today, as you may be eligible for financial compensation.

If a product has been recalled, this indicates that the federal government has ruled a product to be unsafe and that its use could potentially cause harm or even death to those who may use it. Unfortunately, hip replacement recalls often come far too late before thousands of people have already been fitted with these faulty devices.

Hip replacement products that have been recalled due to them being deemed unsafe include:

  • DePuy ASR Acetabular & Resurfacing System
  • Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Recall
  • Smith & Nephew R3 Acetabular, Modular SMF, Modular Redapt Femoral Hip Systems
  • Wright Conserve Plus and Profemur Z Hip Stem
  • Zimmer Durom Acetabular Component

Stryker and DePuy accounted for over 380 recalls between 2002 and 2013 alone, and products have been recalled for a variety of reasons, such as improperly labeling them, manufacturing issues resulting in design flaws and some were improperly packaged.

What are the dangers of metal hip replacements?

Hip replacements are meant to be long-term solutions to major medical issues, often times offered to individuals who have suffered an injury that weakened their original hip or the elderly, who may suffer from decreased mobility or consistent pain as the cartilage in their original hip socket deteriorates and causes uncomfortable friction to occur from basic movement.

Metal hip replacements are supposed to be more durable than other hip replacement products, such as plastic or ceramic models. In these types of hip replacements, both parts of the hip replacement – the ball end that attaches to the femur, and the socket that attaches to the hip – are made of metal. However, despite them supposedly being more durable than other types of hip replacements, metal hip replacements can degrade and cause serious issues, such as:

  • Requirement of another replacement or an additional surgery sooner than advertised, as the metal pieces grind against one another and degrade through friction
  • Blood poisoning, known as metallosis, which can occur through tiny particles of metal shearing off the hip replacement and getting into the bloodstream over time
  • Constant, debilitating hip and leg pain
  • Reduced mobility
  • Development of tumor-like growths in the area of hip replacement

If you suffer from a faulty hip replacement, it can not only result in seriously debilitating issues, it can require additional surgery or medical intervention to correct. This can mean more even more medical expenses and time spent recovering in a hospital, which you may not be able to afford financially or in time missed from work. Continue reading

Any surgical procedure comes with risks, but in the case of hernia surgeries those risks may not have been adequately communicated to patients. Hernia mesh products have faced recalls and significant legal scrutiny over their tendency to shrink, degrade or migrate, causing serious medical consequences. Anybody who has suffered pain or additional medical procedures following the application of surgical hernia mesh should contact a personal injury attorney at Altman & Altman LLP today.

What is surgical hernia mesh, and how is it dangerous?

Surgical hernia mesh is a medical device made from either organic or synthetic materials, usually the latter, which is intended to hold a hernia in place during surgery and prevent it from reoccurring following a surgery to repair it. It is a thin piece of woven mesh that is intended to not only be safe for the patient, but actually help them towards a successful surgery and recovery.

Last weekend, passengers aboard the Carnival Sunshine got more excitement than they paid for when the ship tipped sharply to one side, causing general panic and sending items falling and sliding all over the vessel. The incident occurred as the ship was headed for the Caribbean, only hours after leaving its port of origination, Port Canaveral, Florida.

“I was shifting, falling out of my seat,” said passenger Kyla Williams. “This was very much the ship rolling to one side and everything falling down from that, and it was something you’ll never forget.” She says her husband had to keep her from falling over.

Another passenger, David Crews, was unfazed at first, knowing that ships commonly rock from side to side. But when it didn’t rock back, he became concerned.

“Plates and silverware started sliding off the tables. Then the tables themselves started to slide. Glasses and plates started to fall and shatter. At this point, it was pure chaos. Screams. Cries. Panic,” said Crews.

Like a Scene from Titanic

Another guest reported to an Orlando news station that she was “at the table where the window broke and the water came in,” when they were seated for dinner that evening. “Next thing we know, the whole boat tilted … we were literally hanging on for our lives, dangling…it was really like a scene from the Titanic.”

“[We went] down to our room and got our life jackets and literally carried them around the rest of the night … that’s how scared we were, every time you felt the boat move you were like, oh, crap, is it happening again?” reported another angry passenger.

Several people took to social media, tweeting and posting that elevators were taking on water, cans were falling from shelves and exploding, and bottles were flying through the air. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been harmed by another’s negligence.

Carnival’s Response

According to a spokesperson for the cruise line, the rocky incident—which Carnival says lasted approximately one minute—was the result of a “technical issue.” The next day, each guest received an explanation letter and a $50 on-board credit. But many passengers were unsatisfied with the meager consolation prize.

One passenger posted the following on social media: $50 credit is not enough. I did not sleep at all we got no explanation until this morning. My cruise is ruined. I cannot wait to get off this ship. I’m terrified.

In response to the disgruntled passenger’s comments, the cruise line issued the following statement: “We appreciated our guests understanding of this disruption and provided compensation as a gesture of goodwill.

Was Anyone Physically Harmed?

At least one passenger explained having hurt her back when the ship tilted hard to one side. In fact, she claims to have been unable to partake in any of her planned excursions because of the pain from the injury. A Carnival representative confirmed that “some minor injuries” had occurred.

Some passengers were so upset by the terrifying incident that they cut their cruise short, flying home as soon as the ship docked in the Dominican Republic. A MA personal injury attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been harmed by another’s negligence.

One of Carnival’s oldest-running ships, the Carnival Sunshine first went into service in 1996, under the name Carnival Destiny. At the time, it was the largest cruise ship in the world. Continue reading

In 2016, a 62-year-old man was seriously injured in a New York Costco store when a steel rod fell, striking him in the head. Peter Aurigemma Jr. has filed a lawsuit against the bulk retailer, alleging that he suffered damages due to dangerous and/or defective conditions.

According to the lawsuit, the victim was reaching for paper towels, which were located at least seven feet above floor level, when the steel pipe fell and struck him. Following the accident, Aurigemma Jr. suffered serious medical complications, including a concussion, loss of dexterity in his left hand, damage to the nerves and muscles surrounding his left eye, migraines, noise and light sensitivities, lapses in short-term memory, and even behavioral changes. As a result of these injuries, Aurigemma Jr. is seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Premises Liability

Under premises liability law, property owners are responsible for maintaining reasonably safe conditions on their property so that visitors aren’t harmed. The “status” of the visitor is important when determining liability. For example, trespassers have less rights than invitees. If you are injured while trespassing on store property after hours, your chances of winning a premises liability lawsuit are quite limited. In the Costco case above, however, the victim was not trespassing. In this particular scenario, he would be considered an invitee, or someone who is invited onto the property for a certain purpose, such as shopping. When a store is open to the public, the invitation is implied.

What if Both Parties are at Fault?

Although fault in Aurigemma Jr.’s case is yet to be determined, it is possible that both parties could be at fault. Maybe he grabbed a ladder marked “employees only” to reach the paper towels, possibly making him partially at fault. And maybe the placement of a steel rod on top of a roll of paper towels also makes Costco partially at fault. In MA, when both parties are at fault, a “comparative fault” system is used to reduce the victim’s legal damages by his/her percentage of fault. Therefore, if the victim is found to be 25 percent liable for the accident, his/her personal injury award will be reduced by 25 percent.

And this isn’t Costco’s “first rodeo” when it comes to premises liability lawsuits. The company was ordered to pay more than $400,000 to a slip-and-fall victim with a fractured ankle in 2017, and a New York woman who was hit by a shopping cart on a Costco escalator was awarded nearly $10 million in 2014. In this most recent lawsuit, Costco will have to prove that it took reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of customers. The allegation that paper towels—intended for customer use—were stacked more than seven feet high may have the greatest impact on the outcome of the case. Aurigemma’s lawyers will also likely question why a steel pipe was placed in close proximity to those paper towels. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence. Continue reading

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fadil Delkic allegedly drove his car too close to a family in a Snellville, Georgia Walmart crosswalk. Troy Hunte and his girlfriend confronted Delkic, who remained in the vehicle and attempted to avoid an altercation (as evidenced by a surveillance video). Unfortunately, his attempts were in vain. Hunte shot and killed Delkic a few moments later. The victim’s widow, Bahra Delkic, has brought a wrongful death lawsuit against Walmart, claiming that the mega-retailer lacked adequate security.

“Given the history of violence in their parking lots,” the lawsuit claims, “and Wal-Mart’s [sic] knowledge they were not employing adequate security measures, it was foreseeable to Wal-Mart that the Plaintiff would be attacked in their parking lot and sustain serious injury or death.” A Boston wrongful death attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve lost a loved one due to the negligence of another.

Nothing New for Walmart

Walmart has experienced somewhat of a crime wave in recent years. Last year, law enforcement was called to the four Walmarts in Tulsa, OK nearly 2,000 times. While most of those calls are for shoplifting, there are plenty of more serious offenses, including five armed robberies so far in 2018, a murder suspect who shot himself in the parking lot in 2017, and a 2014 parking lot shootout that killed one and injured several others. In fact, more than 200 violent crimes have occurred at the country’s 4,500 Walmarts so far this year, including stabbings, shootings, murders, and attempted kidnappings.

What Happened?

Delkic was actually able to drive away from the initial confrontation and found a place to park. “Then, more or less, the fight was brought to him,” said Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter. Hunte’s girlfriend allegedly smacked Delkic across the face just before Hunte took out his gun and shot him in the chest.

Bahra Delkic’s lawsuit against Walmart also names Troy Hunte, who was shortly thereafter arrested and charged with murder. She is seeking compensation for “the full value of the life of Fadil Delkic, in an amount to be determined by the evidence.” A MA wrongful death lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve lost a loved one due to another’s negligence.

Is Walmart Doing Enough?

When Doug McMillon took over as Walmart CEO in 2014, he made crime reduction at Walmart stores nationwide a priority. As a result, the retailer allegedly maintains a detailed database of crimes occurring at their stores. According to reports from law enforcement in Port Ritchie, Florida, Walmart incidents comprise nearly 50 percent of all criminal offenses in that city. Even so, Walmart’s attorneys claim that the Delkic murder was an isolated incident and that Walmart had no way to know that the argument would escalate the way it did.

Is Walmart Liable?

In recent years, courts have become increasingly likely to hold retailers liable for parking lot crimes. Whether or not Walmart is liable in the Delkic case will come down to determining how foreseeable the murder of Fadil Delkic was. If this particular store has a history of crime, or is located in a high-crime area, Walmart is likely to be found liable. Continue reading

A grand jury issued a report last week revealing that more than 300 priests sexually abused at least 1,000 children over a 70-year period, in Pennsylvania alone. Nearly as disturbing is the discovery that the abuse was covered up by bishops and many others in Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic Church, and that victims and law enforcement were “persuaded” to remain mum. According to the report, there are likely thousands of additional victims who are reticent to come forward, or who have died leaving no record of abuse.

The report includes detailed descriptions of abuse, including the rape of a young girl by a hospital chaplain after a tonsillectomy, a priest who impregnated a young girl and arranged for her abortion, a priest who tied up and whipped his victim with leather straps, and five sisters who were all abused, including the youngest who was 18 months old.

Pennsylvania Isn’t Alone

Boston is no stranger to sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. In 2002, decades of sexual abuse and cover ups were brought to light, resulting in the resignation of Boston’s Archbishop, settlements in the billions of dollars, and the addition of multiple prevention programs. But Boston and PA are far from the only places to be rocked by scandal in recent years; the former archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, recently resigned after being accused of sexual abuse against minors, and some of these cover-ups have gone as far as the Vatican. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse.

According to the report, some of the church officials who protected abusive priests were not only allowed to remain in office, they got promotions.

“Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability,” wrote the grand jury in the report. “Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades.” A Boston injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been the victim of clergy sexual abuse.

Several bishops are rejecting accusations that the church has been covering up sexual abuse.

“There was no cover-up going on,” said Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh. “I think that it’s important to be able to state that. We have over the course of the last 30 years, for sure, been transparent about everything that has in fact been transpiring.”

They Put the Church First

But the grand jury doesn’t see it that way, saying that the Catholic Church knew what it was doing by following the “playbook for concealing the truth.” For example, any documentation about incidents used language such as “inappropriate contact” for actions that more accurately described rape. And when priests were removed for misconduct, church officials were advised to say the priest was on “sick leave” or “suffering from exhaustion.” According to Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the church put itself first. “They protected their institution at all costs. As the grand jury found, the church showed a complete disdain for victims.” Continue reading

Massachusetts has an abundance of coastline and waterways for every type of boating excursion. Boating can be great fun during the warmer months. From water skiing and wake boarding to fishing and summer commuting, boating is a favorite activity for thousands who live in, or visit, MA every year. But boating can become seriously dangerous—even deadly—due to inexperience, speeding, and alcohol use.

Boating Safety Tips

Follow the tips below to dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death in a boating accident.

  • Never combine alcohol and boating. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol consumption increases the risk of a boating fatality by 34 percent. And alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all boating accidents. Further, it is a federal offense to operate a boat under the influence. If convicted, you could face jail time and fines of up to $5,000.
  • Avoid speeding and reckless driving. You can be cited for speeding and reckless driving, but these dangerous behaviors also dramatically increase your risk of serious injury. A Boston boating accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
  • Leave the volume of your emergency radio at an easily audible level. A fatal duck boat accident in Philadelphia was a tragic reminder of the importance of emergency radios; the boat’s operator missed crash warnings because he had turned down the radio’s volume. As a result, two tourists were killed and the Philadelphia duck boat company settled with the victim’s families for $15 million.
  • There should be an experienced boat operator onboard at all times. In 77 percent of fatal boat accidents, the operator had inadequate boating safety instruction. In fact, the top five contributing factors in boating accidents are inexperience, inattention, speeding, improper lookout, and mechanical failures.
  • Ensure that your boat is well maintained and in proper working order. If you own the boat and someone is injured or killed because it is in poor condition, you could be found liable.
  • Follow life jacket laws. In MA, that means anyone under the age of 12 must wear a life jacket at all times, and that there are ample life jackets for each person onboard. The boat’s owner or operator is responsible for ensuring that life jacket laws are followed. In 2016, drowning was the main cause of death in 80 percent of fatal boating accidents, and of those victims, 83 percent were not wearing their life jacket.
  • Avoid overloading your boat. Too much weight on a boat can lead to capsizing or swamping (taking on water). Check your boat’s weight capacity and ensure that you never exceed it.
  • Be prepared for an emergency. Make sure that you have proper safety equipment onboard, that it’s in proper working order, and that you know how to use it. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
  • Check the weather before heading out. Getting caught in bad weather on open water can be deadly.

Continue reading

Are duck boats death traps? Following a tragic accident that claimed 17 lives in Missouri last week, many experts are saying duck boats should be banned nationwide. Duck boats are amphibious vehicles (originally used during WWII) that can travel on land and water, and they have a deadly history.

Anyone living in the Boston area is likely familiar with duck boat accidents; a woman was killed and a man was injured when a Boston Duck Tours vehicle ran over their scooter in 2016, and another woman was seriously injured months later when she was struck by a duck boat from the same company. A MA personal injury attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

The recent accident in Missouri resulted in the death of 17 people, at least one of whom was a child. The Ride the Ducks vehicle capsized on Branson’s Table Rock Lake when a sudden storm brought 65 mph winds. Only 14 of the 31 passengers survived. One of those passengers, Tia Coleman, lost nine family members in the tragedy—three children, her husband, two nephews, her mother-in-law and father-in-law, her sister-in-law, and an uncle. Only she and a nephew survived. Coleman claims that the boat’s captain told them not to worry, and that there was no need to use life jackets. When it became apparent that they needed the life vests to survive, it was too late.

“When that boat is found, all those life jackets are going to be there,” said Coleman.

Sinking Coffins

Not only was this not the first fatal duck boat accident in the country (not even close), it wasn’t the first for this particular company. Ride the Ducks has been sued multiple times for fatal duck boat accidents. Experts are calling these vehicles “sinking coffins.” After an accident that killed 13 people in Arkansas nearly 20 years ago, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that the canopies on all duck boats be removed for safer escape. In those 20 years, almost nothing about duck boat structure or operations has changed. Not only are the canopies still there, but the design on most duck boats is nearly identical to their original WWII design.

In addition to their on-water dangers, duck boats are considered to be dangerous when driving on land because their unusual design creates a deadly blind spot. In last year’s fatal accident in Boston, the duck boat driver couldn’t see the scooter stopped at a red light directly in front of him because of the duck boat’s shape. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

In Seattle in 2015, a fatal collision involving a duck boat and a bus resulted in the death of five college students. Another 69 passengers were injured. Branson-based Ride the Ducks, who also manufactured the Seattle duck boats, was fined $500,000. And in 2015, a woman was struck and killed while crossing a Philadelphia street. That duck boat was also connected to Ride the Ducks. Continue reading

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one out of every five fatal work accidents occurs in the construction industry. Considering that more than one-third of these fatalities are due to falls, it’s in the best interest of construction workers in the Commonwealth of MA and nationwide to familiarize themselves with the dangers of construction falls, and how to avoid them.

To protect workers, OSHA has established fall protection safety standards. Unfortunately, fall protection is the number one OSHA standard to be violated by employers. If you work in the construction industry and have concerns about the safety standards at your workplace, speak up. If your supervisor doesn’t readily address and resolve the issue, contact OSHA. It is OSHA’s duty to investigate claims of workplace safety violations.

OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign

Of the 991 construction deaths in 2016, 370 were falls from high elevations. In partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), OSHA has developed a Fall Prevention Campaign to educate employers and workers about how to prevent falls from roofs, scaffolds, ladders, and other high elevations. The campaign has three main components: Plan, provide, and train.

Plan

Working from heights requires proper planning beforehand, to ensure that workers are safe at all times. Planning can include outlining tasks that will be involved, listing necessary safety equipment, identifying potential hazards—such as skylights or leading edges—and deciding which workers have proper training to work from heights. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured on the job.

Provide

When it comes to working at high elevations, the right equipment is essential. Any worker who is at least six feet above lower levels must be provided with fall protection equipment. This can include everything from a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) to proper scaffolds and ladders. In addition to providing the equipment, employers must ensure proper fit and that the equipment is well-maintained and in working order.

Train

Any individual who will be working from a high elevation must first receive adequate training. In addition to proper use of safety equipment, workers should be able to identify potential hazards and know how to deal with them. A MA workers’ compensation attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured in a work-related accident.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fall-related construction deaths between 1992 and 2005 occurred from the following places:

  • 33% – roofs
  • 18% – scaffolding or staging
  • 16% – ladders
  • 8% – girders or structural steel
  • 25% – other

Fortunately, the vast majority of fall-related construction deaths can be easily prevented. You can dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death by reporting any fall hazards to your employer, and by contacting OSHA if those hazards are not resolved. Continue reading

Motor vehicle collisions involving large, commercial trucks often result in significantly more damage than those involving passenger vehicles alone. This can be due to multiple factors, such as the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, as well as an increased risk of fatigue among long-haul truck drivers. Fortunately, if you are involved in an accident with a large truck (a.k.a. big rig, 18-wheeler, or tractor-trailer), several options are available to obtain compensation.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit after a collision with a commercial truck can help you obtain the compensation you deserve, but it can also be a complicated, lengthy process. A skilled Boston personal injury lawyer with extensive experience in trucking accidents can help to ensure that you receive full compensation in a timely manner. And filing a lawsuit might be your only option to recover damages; insurance carriers often require the insured to attempt to get the responsible party to pay before they will issue any funds. When the other party refuses, a lawsuit may be necessary.

When filing a lawsuit after an accident involving a large truck, one of the challenges is determining who to file it against. Was the truck driver negligent—was he/she texting while driving, or driving recklessly? Was the truck company negligent—did its failure to provide proper maintenance result in a mechanical issue that caused the accident? Was a parts manufacturer negligent—did faulty tires contribute to the accident? Was a third-party responsible—did a bar knowingly over-serve the driver, lending to his/her intoxicated driving? As you can see, determining fault can be a complex matter. And in many cases, multiple parties are at fault.

Driver

Even if the truck driver was obviously negligent (i.e. falling asleep behind the wheel), he/she may not have the financial ability to compensate you for repair bills and medical expenses. In most instances, however, the trucking company is at least partially at fault. A MA trucking accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck.

Trucking Company

Generally speaking, truck drivers are working for a company. As such, the company may be held vicariously liable for resulting collisions. For example, if the driver fell asleep behind the wheel, was it because he/she was working excessive hours at the company’s request? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict regulations on the amount of hours truck drivers are allowed to work. These are known as “hours of service” regulations. Drivers may not drive more than 14 consecutive hours, and they cannot resume driving until a minimum of 10 consecutive off-duty hours have passed. Further, they cannot drive more than 60 hours during a seven-day period, or 70 hours during an eight-day period. Violations can result in civil penalties and fines.

Even if the truck was well-maintained and inspected, and the trucking company adhered to hours of service regulations, the trucking company may be deemed liable for the driver’s negligence. Consider the following scenario: Harold is driving recklessly when he crashes into Maude. Had Harold’s employer, CBA Trucking, conducted a thorough background check prior to his hire, they would have seen multiple terminations due to reckless driving. For this reason, any resulting lawsuit may allege that CBA used negligent hiring practices and is, thus, partially liable for Maude’s injuries. Continue reading

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