Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

Last week, the family of a child who was severely injured at birth was awarded a $42 million verdict for future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost earning capacity, among other damages. A Pennsylvania judge awarded the multi-million dollar verdict due to the extent of the child’s injuries and the likelihood that he will require life-long care.

The child, who is now five years old, was injured during the delivery process when the doctor allegedly used forceps prematurely to pull the infant from the birth canal. According to the lawsuit, the pressure from the forceps caused internal bleeding, which resulted in permanent injuries, including cognitive problems, physical impairments, and an inability to express himself. As a result, he has suffered multiple brain and spine surgeries, and will require many more in the future. In fact, doctors do not expect that the child will ever read or write, and he may spend the rest of his life in an electric wheelchair.

The birth of a baby is supposed to be a joyous occasion, when a doctor’s negligence or medical malpractice results in painful or debilitating injuries to mother or child, this special day can forever be marred by trauma, sadness, and anger. In some cases, traumatic birth injuries lead to a lifetime of medical problems, and even death. Malpractice claims can be brought against doctors, other medical personnel, and hospitals. However, these types of claims are highly complicated and require the help of a skilled MA birth injury lawyer.

Types of Traumatic Birth Injuries

Any kind of birth-related injury can be classified as a traumatic birth injury, but some of the most common serious birth injuries include:

  • Broken bones and bruising: In many cases, these injuries will heal over a period of time, without the need for medical intervention. Broken bones and bruises are often caused by the use of forceps, vacuums, or natural physical stresses of the birth process. When an infant is tugged with too much force or medical personnel improperly use birth-assisting tools, these injuries can become more severe.
  • Bell’s Palsy: This injury is characterized by facial paralysis, and occurs when the infant’s facial nerves are damaged during the birth process. The damage is often caused by extreme pressure on the infant’s face, either from natural causes or from improper use of forceps during delivery. In most cases, Bell’s Palsy improves without treatment. A Boston injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you were harmed due to medical negligence.
  • Brachial Plexus injury: The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that connects the spine to the arms and hands. When the brachial plexus is injured during the birth process, the baby may temporarily lose the ability to move the arms. In most cases, this injury will heal over time, but brachial plexus injuries can be permanent if the nerves are actually torn. These injuries are most common in difficult births, especially when a doctor pulls too hard to extract an infant whose shoulder is stuck in the birth canal.
  • Anoxia: A form of oxygen deprivation, anoxia can cause serious medical complications in a newborn. If the placenta separates prematurely or the umbilical cord is wrapped around the infant’s neck, oxygen flow to the brain may be reduced to dangerous levels. If a baby is deprived of oxygen for too long, serious brain damage can result. In some cases, this oxygen deprivation causes a medical disorder called cerebral palsy (CP). Children with CP have difficulty controlling body movements and developing / maintaining muscle tone. CP is a serious, life-long and life-altering condition. In some situations, oxygen deprivation leads to death.

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Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the membranes surrounding your lungs and abdomen. Between 70 and 80 percent of mesothelioma cases are caused by the inhalation of asbestos particles – a naturally-occurring, fibrous mineral that was used for decades as a fire retardant and insulation in homes and businesses across the world.

Since asbestos was used for decades in every different kind of building possible, the people most at risk for exposure to asbestos are construction workers and demolition technicians who work on renovating or destroying older homes and business buildings. Asbestos is harmless when it is left unbothered, but when asbestos is disturbed, it releases microscopic particles that can enter the body and cause many health issues.

Health professionals have known since at least the 70s that exposure to asbestos could result in negative health complications, but recent studies have shown that even a single exposure event to asbestos could result in developing respiratory and other diseases at some point down the line. Asbestos particles are jaggedly-shaped and do not clear out of the body once they are introduced.

Sometimes symptoms of asbestos exposure do not become apparent in patients until 20 to 50 years after the exposure event, so even if an exposure to asbestos happened a long time ago, please contact Altman & Altman LLP if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulties, chest pain or a combination of both
  • A general feeling of illness
  • Weight loss
  • Fevers
  • Persistent coughing
  • Night sweats
  • Developing a mass or swelling in the chest cavity
  • Increased presence of fluid in the lungs

The only way to be certain if you are suffering from mesothelioma is to be diagnosed by a doctor, usually through various tests such as MRIs and tissue samples. Sometimes, invasive surgery is required to observe the membranes in your body to determine a diagnosis one way or another.

Should you find out that you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you may be eligible to make a claim to collect financial compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as money spent on medical bills and money lost due to being unable to work during your treatment.

Thousands of cases involving exposure to asbestos have been filed in recent years, many of them stemming from exposure events that happened many years ago. Do not feel as though you don’t have a case to make simply because it occurred in the past. The only way to find out if your case is eligible for compensation is to team up with legal professionals who can look at the unique details of your situation.

At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 40 years of experience handling suits involving everything from personal injuries to negligent companies causing harm. The costs stemming from dealing with mesothelioma can be significant, and without proper legal representation you may have to suffer through these challenges alone. Continue reading

According to the AARP Foundation, a settlement has been reached in the wrongful death lawsuit between the family of Bobby Glenn Tweed and the nursing home they allege is responsible for his death. The family claims that the facility misused strong psychotropic drugs to make the 78-year-old Alzheimer’s patient docile and compliant.

The misuse of psychotropic drugs by nursing homes to “treat” Alzheimer’s patients is not new. In 2014, AARP released an investigative report revealing that psychotropic drug overuse in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia was occurring nationwide, and at an alarming rate. And the drugs aren’t being administered for the medical benefit of these patients; rather they are being used to “manage” patients who are considered disruptive. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if a loved one has been harmed in a nursing home facility.

The vast majority of nursing homes and staff have their patients’ best interests in mind at all times…but there are exceptions. Negligence and mistreatment occurs with shocking frequency in nursing homes, and the use of drugs to prevent patients from complaining, or being “difficult,” is a growing problem. In some instances, psychotropic drugs are given to patients who are thought to be dangerous to themselves. Although this use may be viewed as medically necessary, there are additional concerns; psychotropic drugs are actually linked to deaths in dementia patients.

When negligence or mistreatment results in the injury or death of a patient, nursing homes can be held liable. Just as hospitals can be sued for negligence and medical malpractice, so can nursing homes. In Mr. Tweed’s case, his daughter – who held the power of attorney – was not consulted about the administration of psychotropic drugs. When a lack of consent to administer medication is evident, a nursing home can also be liable for assault and battery.

Elder Abuse

Older Americans are often forced to rely on others for personal care due to physical and cognitive impairments. Unfortunately, this makes them easy targets for abuse and neglect.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elder abuse is defined as “any abuse and neglect of persons age 60 and older by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust.” In addition to being physically vulnerable, elderly victims of abuse are often reluctant to report the abuse; they may fear retaliation, or think that nobody will believe them. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine if your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect.

The New York City Department for the Aging and Cornell University conducted a study in 2010. The “Under the Radar: New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study revealed that the rate of elder abuse is nearly 24 times greater than what is actually reported to the authorities and social services. Psychological abuse is most common. An earlier report done in 2000 found that 44 percent of the 2,000 nursing home residents surveyed had been abused and 95 percent had been experienced neglect. Further, the same studied revealed that more than 50 percent of staff had admitted to mistreating patients. Continue reading

National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs from April 9 to 15, aims to educate the public and dog owners about how to prevent dog bites. According to recent reports, dog bite claims over the past 10 years have skyrocketed. The information below provides insight into why these claims have been on the rise, and provides helpful tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.

The Insurance Information Institute, in collaboration with State Farm, released a report earlier this month to call attention to the shocking increase in dog bite claims. According to the report, 18,000 dog bite claims were filed in 2016 alone. This is nearly 3,500 more than were filed in 2006. So, what’s going on? Are there more “vicious” dogs today than there were 10 years ago? Are irresponsible owners to blame?

The real answer may have more to do with the potential payout than with the dogs or owners; the average payout on a dog bite claim has risen by more than $11 thousand in that same period of time. Total payouts for all dog bite claims in 2016 increased by nearly $280 million. This doesn’t mean that people are taking advantage of the system, however. In the past, dog bite claims weren’t taken as seriously as they are today, thus, they usually resulted in a lower payout. As filing a legal claim can be a complex process, it is likely that less people chose to go this route when the potential payout was less substantial.

Dog Bite Facts

But an increase in attacks, and more serious bites, may also play a role in the rise in dog bite claims. According to analysts, there has been an uptick in severe dog bites, especially those involving children. This combination of an increase in attacks and an increase in payouts may be responsible for the nearly 20 percent increase in annual dog bite claims. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you have been the victim of a dog bite or attack.

  • According to the CDC, about 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the United States
  • Of these bites, about 900,000 become infected.
  • In 2016, 41 people died due to dog bites
  • Of those deaths, 31 percent were three to six-day-old infants

Who is Liable?

In most cases, the dog’s owner is liable for any injury caused by their dog. Of course, in some instances it is the victim, not the dog or owner, who is to blame. If an individual is thought to have “provoked” a dog, the owner may not be liable for resulting injuries. An ignored “Beware of Dog” sign could further complicate the issue. A skilled MA personal injury attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a dog attack.

How to Prevent Dog Bites

Before we talk about how to prevent dog bites, let’s consider why dogs bite in the first place. In most cases, dogs bite because they are stressed, because they feel threatened, or to protect themselves or their puppies. They may also react aggressively if they are not feeling well.

  • Avoid approaching an animal that you do not know.
  • Avoid running from a dog.
  • If you are approached by an unfamiliar dog, stay completely still and avoid direct eye contact.
  • Avoid disturbing a sleeping dog.
  • Avoid disturbing a dog who is eating.
  • Before attempting to pet an unfamiliar dog, allow the dog to sniff you.
  • If a dog begins to attack, roll into a ball and stay very still. Cover your ears and neck, and avoid eye contact.

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Have you ever had a surgery to correct a hernia? Chances are, if you had such a surgery in the last ten years you were fitted with some type of hernia mesh to help the repaired hernia heal. Hernia mesh can be made from synthetic materials or animal tissue, and is placed inside the body to support a healing hernia.

Statistically, the use of hernia mesh to help aid in the recovery of hernias does decrease the likelihood of future complications in the area of the hernia, and decreases the risk of needing any follow-up surgeries.

Unfortunately, not all hernia mesh products are equivalent, and some have been outright recalled due to problematic and potentially life-threatening complications that they create. The following hernia mesh products have been officially recalled.

Ethicon – a subsidiary company of Johnson & Johnson

  • Proceed (FDA approval in 2003, recalled in 2006, 2011 and 2014)
  • Physiomesh (FDA approval in 2010, withdrawn from sales by company in June, 2016)

Atrium Medical Corporation of Maquet Getinge Group

  • C-QUR surgical mesh (gained FDA approval in 2006, recalled in 2013)

Bard Davol, a subsidiary company of C.R. Bard

  • Kugel
  • 3DMax
  • Perfix
  • Sepramesh

Ethicon’s ‘Physiomesh’ product is the most recent large-scale recall of hernia mesh, and occurred in 2016. The mesh is made from a chemical compound called polypropylene, which can be incredibly dangerous should it come into contact with human tissue because of its tendency to “stick” to the tissue; opening up a whole host of potential complications depending on where the mesh is placed within the body.

Physiomesh was coated in multiple other materials to prevent contact between the polypropylene and the inside of the human body, however the decision to pull the product from the market indicates that there were too many people experiencing the complications to continue to push the mesh on the market.

C.R. Bard’s products resulted in three Class 1 recalls (potentially life-threatening) between 2005 and 2007. Complications included fistulas and perforation of bowels.

No matter what the product, there is always a risk that the mesh will not perform its duties entirely correctly and will require a second, or more, surgery to correct the complication. Hernia mesh can also cause a number of other side effects, including:

  • Pain and bleeding
  • Adhesions (scar tissue that sticks together)
  • Seroma (a buildup of fluid at the site of incision)
  • Nerve damage
  • Infections
  • Shrinking/migrating/compromised mesh
  • Bowel and intestinal blockage
  • Autoimmune reactions/mesh rejection
  • Reoccurrence of hernia
  • Fistulas (irregular points of connection between separate organs)
  • Organ tears and perforations

Should any of these complications occur to you or a loved one, you may be entitled to significant compensation for the pain that you’ve endured and the expenses you have incurred as a result of the faulty medical procedure. There are thousands of ongoing hernia mesh lawsuits happening today, and you may be able to recover damages for your own experience.

When you go to the hospital to receive surgery, you should feel comfortable that a procedure will not lead to further complications down the line due to a faulty product, such as some of these hernia mesh products have been revealed to be. Continue reading

In a time period of growing division, people from every corner of the internet found a common cause to decry on Monday and Tuesday when video surfaced of a man being forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane because the airline needed to free up space for four of their own employees.

The man, identified later as a doctor who was taking the Louisville-bound flight out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to see patients the next morning, becomes visibly and vocally distressed when security personnel violently grab at him after he refused to leave the plane voluntarily at their demands.

Passengers looked on with shock and horror as the innocent flier is yanked from his seat and then falls, slamming face-first into an arm rest on the opposite side of the aisle. His body goes limp – apparently knocked unconscious – as the security personnel drag his motionless body down the aisle and out of the plane; some blood visibly running down his face.


Overbooking flights is nothing new for airliners, however getting overbooked passengers off of an overbooked flight rarely requires more to fix than offering travel vouchers (usually between $500 and $1,000 depending on the value of the ticket purchased) in exchange for finding another flight. In this case, United ceased their offers to passengers at $1,000, refusing to go over that number even though they could have gone to a max of $1,350.

What occurred in this instance can be described as nothing less than a public relations nightmare for United, who actually saw a visible stock plummet of over one percent by the end of Tuesday, and saw hundreds of thousands of shocked and outraged social media reactions pointed in their direction.

But beyond the PR consequences this incident will have for United’s image – especially since the floodgates have seemingly opened with other stories emerging of misconduct performed by United – the airline could very likely face a lawsuit from the doctor they violently removed. The man underwent treatment at a hospital in Chicago after the event unfolded.

It would be hard for anybody to defend the actions of United in this case, especially since there are multiple in-person witnesses and video footage of the incident, which paints a clear picture of unnecessary force used without just cause. The security official who pulled the man from his seat has apparently been put on leave, the airline saying his conduct “was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure.”

United could have handled the matter in many different, more appropriate ways. According to United, the employees that they were trying to clear room for on the flight actually didn’t need to be in Louisville until the next day, meaning they could have taken any number of different flights to get them there on time, or even had them driven there, since it is only a four to five hour drive from Chicago to Louisville.

All this goes to say that the man removed from the flight has a legitimate legal case to bring forth due to the injuries he sustained during the incident and the manner in which he was treated. He did not commit a crime, he was not being belligerent or aggressive. He was instructed to get off a plane that he had paid to be on, and he needed to get to his destination just the same as the United employees. Continue reading

Social media video shows a United Airlines’ passenger being dragged from his seat and down the aisle of the Louisville-bound plane on his flight Sunday night. Apparently, United had intentionally overbooked the flight – a common practice – and asked the man to relinquish his seat to make room for crew members. According to the man, he is a doctor and refused the request because he had to be in Louisville for work.

Video posted to social media shows the man being forcibly removed from his seat, and dragged by his arms, amid disapproving shouts from passengers. Prior to the incident, the man wasn’t behaving badly; United staff simply needed to bump a passenger, and they picked him. But he didn’t want to be bumped.

“After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” United said in a statement. “We apologize for the overbook situation.” If your rights have been violated by an airline or any other corporate entity, a Boston personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages.

NJ Senator Calls the Incident Disturbing

United’s Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz apologized on Monday for “having to re-accommodate these customers.” However, New Jersey Senator Robert Menednez called Munoz’s statement an “empty apology,” and said the incident was “disturbing.” Further, in an internal message sent to United employees, Munoz seemed less apologetic, alleging that the man became “belligerent” after repeated requests to leave his seat. Munoz went on to write that “the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did.”

One of the officers involved in the incident has been suspended by the Chicago Department of Aviation. United released a statement saying that “the incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department. That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review of the situation.”

It is quite common for fully-booked flights to have multiple empty seats because people failed to show up for their flight. Overselling seats helps to maximize airline revenue. When too many people show up, the problem is usually easily solved by offering certain passengers money or free airline tickets to relinquish their seat in exchange for a later flight, a process referred to as “bumping.” However, Sunday’s incident shows that bumping can become confrontational in certain situations.

An Easy Solution

According to CFRA Research analyst Jim Corridore, United could have avoided this situation by offering more compensation. This may have enticed more passengers to volunteer to be bumped. “We think this situation was handled in a deplorable fashion, but note that United has the right to refuse boarding to any passenger for any reason,” said Corridore. A MA injury lawyer can help if you find yourself in a similar situation. Continue reading

America’s game is back in full swing, bringing tens of thousands of people out to bars, tailgates and ballparks throughout the nation to watch their favorite teams play. Although baseball is amongst the slowest-paced sporting events held in America, it poses plenty of risks to those gathered in attendance.

The most obvious risk of injury at a baseball game is being hit by a scorching line drive or an errantly-thrown bat that makes its way into the crowd. Baseballs hit by professional players can be traveling a whopping 110 miles per hour, giving anybody precious little time to react to avoid one coming directly at their head.

Adding to the very real danger of constant projectiles peppering the stands is the fact that viewing baseball games is, especially today, a viewing experience that is rife with distractions. More and more people stay glued to a phone rather than the action – or lack thereof – on the diamond. Maybe you have a hot dog in one hand and a beverage in the other. These distractions make reacting to a ball headed your way even less likely.

Besides the risk of injury from balls and bats, baseball parks themselves offer plenty of scenarios that could injure somebody. Some seats sit many stories high in the air, with little protection against falls except for short railings. Falls have claimed the lives of fans in the past, and have injured others.

Gatherings of large numbers of people always carry inherent risk of fights, trampling, slips and other various accidents that may result in action being taken against a sporting venue. For instance, a Chicago woman recently filed suit against the stadium of the Chicago White Sox because they allegedly failed to prevent her from tripping over a barricade that protruded into a public walkway.

Successful vs. unsuccessful claims

Should an injury at the ballpark happen to you, there are certain situations and circumstances that will help to determine whether or not you have a legitimate claim to receive financial recompense for the harm you have sustained.

A Cleveland man was recently denied by a jury in his claim that the Cleveland Indians were negligent in not extending their safety nets far enough along the baseline, which he alleged allowed a ball to hit him in the head and resulted in the loss of vision in one of his eyes.

The man had claimed he was being distracted by ballpark personnel who were instructing him to move seats when the ball was hit and struck him. The team had argued that this was not accurate. In this case, hearsay and the uncertainties surrounding the facts of the event most likely sewed enough doubt in the mind of the jury that they couldn’t decide in good conscious whether anybody was directly at fault for the accident.

In the case of the Chicago woman, she may be able to make a better argument because it could hypothetically be proven that the barricade was obstructing a public walkway, and could easily have been foreseen by ballpark personnel as being a potential hazard to the health of their patrons. If this proof is presented, it could help prove negligence on the staff’s behalf, increasing the odds for a successful claim. Continue reading

The decision to move your loved one to a nursing home facility in Massachusetts is generally difficult, and quite emotional. We want what’s best for our elderly parents and grandparents, and sometimes we are unable to give that to them without professional help. When physical or cognitive impairments make it necessary to move your loved one into a nursing home, you hope that staff will provide exceptional care and kindness at all times. At the very least, you hope that your loved one will never be a victim of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect happens every day, affecting thousands of elderly or disabled Americans annually. In extreme cases, abuse and neglect can result in death.

It’s important to state that the vast majority of nursing homes and staff have the best interests of their residents in mind at all times. But neglect and abuse do occur. In some cases, elderly residents are seriously injured or die as a result of an accident, but intentional abuse also occurs. When nursing home negligence or abuse leads to the death of a resident, the family may bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. These lawsuits operate much like personal injury lawsuits, with one main difference – the family members of the person who was injured bring the lawsuit. A Boston nursing home abuse attorney can help you understand your rights and options when filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

The best way to prevent your loved one from becoming a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect is to thoroughly research multiple facilities before deciding on the best home for your family’s needs. Once your loved one is living in the chosen facility, visit often and pay attention to your loved one’s physical appearance, mental state, and the cleanliness of his or her surroundings. The signs below may indicate neglect or abuse.

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Bed sores
  • Infections
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Broken bones
  • Bruises
  • Fear of being touched
  • Frequent illness
  • Your loved one appears agitated, withdrawn, or non-communicative.

If any of the above symptoms are present, report the issue immediately. A MA nursing home abuse lawyer can help you determine how to move forward if you believe your loved one is a victim of neglect or abuse.

Types of Abuse and Neglect

Any of the following types of abuse and neglect can result in the death of a nursing home resident.

  • Assault and battery (this includes shaking, beating, and emotional and physical abuse)
  • Lack of adequate care (failure to move immobile patients to prevent bed sores, failure to give correct doses of medication, failure to monitor and / or treat existing health conditions)
  • Sexual assault and rape
  • Physical restraint
  • Seclusion
  • Deprivation of food and water
  • Failure to keep the patient’s living conditions safe and sanitary

$83 Million Award in Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit

An 83 year old nursing home resident was hospitalized after she became extremely dehydrated. Upon recovering, she returned to the nursing home, only to develop bed sores and be re-hospitalized. She died at the nursing home after developing an infection related to the bed sores.

The victim’s family sued the nursing home, alleging that her repeated hospitalizations were the result of understaffing-related neglect. The lawsuit also claimed that the nursing home was guilty of fraud for concealing past issues and accidents in the facility’s history. The family was awarded $83 million. Continue reading

Most personal injury lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations…meaning, you probably can’t sue someone because you were injured in a slip and fall accident on their property 30 years ago. But what if your injury was caused by exposure to a substance that takes decades to wreak havoc on the body? Consider asbestos. This deadly substance, commonly used in building and construction for decades, was all-but-banned after it was discovered that exposure could cause serious health problems.

Further complicating asbestos-related lawsuits is the fact that it can take more than 20 years for deadly diseases like asbestosis or mesothelioma to be diagnosed. In many instances, once a disease like mesothelioma has been diagnosed, the patient’s long-term prognosis is not good. But even if decades have passed, it may not be too late to file a lawsuit. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine your options if you have an asbestos-related health condition.

In addition to the length of time it may take for asbestos-related health problems to become apparent, it is also difficult to pinpoint exactly when and where the exposure occurred. And even if the exposure can be traced to a certain period of time – while working for a contractor, for example – that company may no longer be in business. For all of these reasons, courts have made several exceptions for asbestos claimants with regard to statutes of limitations and obtaining compensation from now-defunct past employers.