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The Perecman Firm

New York, NY Personal Injury Blog

Digital Health Tools May Lower The Risk Of Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical malpractice can lead to serious personal injury, permanent disability, and, even death. Losses, in addition to the loss of health, may include future income, love, companionship, and more. Families of the victims suddenly may be burdened with emotional and financial upheaval.

MIEC, an Oakland, Calif.-based medical liability insurer is initiating a study based on evidence that a breakdown in communication between medical provider and patient plays a role in malpractice suits. Their end goal of their effort is to decrease the number of malpractice claims brought against a doctor or hospital.

The company’s study is designed to determine to what degree increased doctor-patient communication affects the number and cost of malpractice claims to a physician. According to Forbes (10.29.14), 60 orthopedic surgeons will participate in the study. Orthopedic surgeons are a group that typically has a high number of malpractice claims.

As part of the study, the surgeons will use a mobile and web-based communication tool made by HealthLoop. This platform allows them to connect with their patients between visits and-or following surgery. With HealthLoop, patients will receive communication including automatically generated phone calls, emails and-or text messages. Patients may receive questions and educational tips such as “elevate your leg 2 to 3 times a day for 30 minutes.” Symptoms, such as fever, can also be reported and then followed-up on by the doctor’s office, said Forbes.

The belief is that improved communication will result in fewer claims. The studies the company used were said to show that “doctors with the highest number of lawsuits were more likely to have patients who were unhappy about not having their phone calls returned.” The individuals had reported feeling “ignored, rushed, and uncertain about their treatment plan,” said Forbes.

The expectation is that patients will not sue a doctor that is liked. It will be interesting to see if technology can adequately substitute for actual personal interaction with a doctor and

Metro-North Blamed for Five Preventable Train Accidents, Six Deaths and Over One Hundred Injuries

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released their conclusions on the five New York rail accidents that occurred over a span of 10 months between 2013 and early this year. “All of these deaths and injuries were preventable,” said Christopher Hart, the NSTB’s acting chairman said at a press conference, according to USA Today (10.28.14).

The accidents resulted in six fatalities and injury to 126 others. The accidents were blamed on poor track maintenance, inadequate inspections and training, poor safety oversight and other “reoccurring safety issues,” said the NTSB press release. Hart said the accidents and deaths could have been avoided if the railroad had followed NTSB recommendations.

Four of the accidents involved Metro-North trains and one was a CSX derailment in the Bronx.

The series of accidents began with a Metro-North train derailment in Bridgeport, Connecticut that injured dozens on May 17, 2013.

In July 2013, a CSX train carrying garbage derailed on Metro-North tracks in the Bronx.

The worst accident occurred in the Bronx on Dec. 1, 2013, when a Metro-North train. The NTSB said the derailment that killed four people occurred when engineer William Rockefeller fell asleep, leaving the train to speed up to 82 mph before a sharp 30 mph curve. The engineer fell asleep because of undiagnosed sleep apnea. Hart said that the NTSB recommended 12 years ago that the Federal Railroad Administration require screening for sleep apnea, reported USA Today.

In West Haven, Connecticut where another accident occurred, a back-up track blocking system might have kept a train from killing track foreman Robert Luden in May 2013, even after a closed rail was accidentally opened to train traffic by a rail controller trainee.

The last of the accidents was the death of track worker James Romansoff in Manhattan on March 10. The NTSB concluded that he had accidentally gotten onto a track that was still being used by trains because workers were not

David Perecman Joins Lawmakers Pushing for Expanded Recall of Defective Airbags

Drivers across the country are trying to find out if they need to replace dangerous airbags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put out a major recall notice on October 20 for defective airbags and urged people whose cars are equipped with them to take action immediately.  More than 7 million vehicles are involved in the recall, said he press release issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on October 22.

The renewed warning is linked to the potential for the inflator mechanisms in the air bags to explode, causing metal shrapnel to shoot out and hit vehicle occupants when the bags are deployed.

According to The Washington Post (10.23.14), defective airbags were linked to four deaths and more than 100 injuries. Automakers mainly focused their urgent recalls in Southern states since it was believed that the problem was related to extended exposure to consistently high humidity and temperatures, said the NHTSA.

Attorney at Law David Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm, and a number of lawmakers in Congress said that every defective airbag should be recalled, not just those in the South, even if it means more than 20 million devices need to be replaced.

“Drivers who find that their vehicles have been recalled should take them to the dealer immediately, no matter where they live,” said Perecman. “It is unacceptable for people to be driving defective cars that could be dangerous.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now points to ten automakers that used airbags made by the Takata Company in Tokyo, Japan.  These manufacturers are BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.

Car owners who want to check whether their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls should go to http://www.safercar.gov/.

“If there are not enough replacement inflators for the recalled vehicles, as the NHTSA has said, the alternative should be a loaner car with safe airbags,” said

Woman Killed In Truck Accident After Barrels Fall From Another Vehicle

Truck drivers are responsible for the loads that they haul.

Last week, a stack of cement beams fell off a truck and landed on the hood of a Honda Pilot while both vehicles were travelling on a road. Luckily, there were no fatalities in the accident.

This week, in Pasadena, Texas, plastic barrels that reportedly “flew from the flatbed of a truck” caused a chain reaction that left one woman dead, said KHOU (10.27.14).

Apparently the woman behind the fallen barrels swerved and applied her brakes. The 18-wheeler behind her then slammed into the back of her small sedan. The impact killed the driver of the sedan.

The crash was so catastrophic that it took several hours before investigators could be sure the woman was the only car occupant. Police believe that the truck driver appeared to have had little time to react, reported KHOU.

The driver of the truck that dropped the barrels may still not even know that he caused the accident. The driver may see a story on the accident and come forward. However, if this is not the case, investigators will try to determine who the barrels belonged to based on the time, proximity, and description of them.

Injuries or deaths caused by objects or debris that falls off a truck and onto the roadway, or even directly onto another vehicle, are preventable.

If something falls from a car or a truck, it has been improperly secured. If another motorist is injured by that object, the driver of the vehicle that lost the object may be held responsible.

In the case of a truck, the truck driver and the trucking company are responsible for the unsecured load. The company that loaded the truck may also be liable for any property damage, injuries, and-or fatalities. An experienced lawyer can help identify all parties who may be liable so that they can be held accountable for the full

Cement Beams Fall Off Truck and Smash SUV

Cargo that is improperly secured can cause serious accidents.

A stack of cement beams fell off a truck and landed on the hood of Vinod George’s Honda Pilot. This happened while both vehicles were travelling on a road. As reported by CBS News (10.23.14), George knew what was going to happen because he saw the beams coming right at him. He said that he tried to stop when he saw the beams falling, but there was “nowhere to go because there was a truck on the left side.”

It was an accident that the cement beams slid off the truck. Luckily, it was not a fatal one. The driver of the truck was not hurt, and George suffered a sprained wrist. George’s SUV, however, was not so lucky and the front was smashed in.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

An overloaded or improperly loaded truck can lead to a catastrophic accident on the road. When cargo or debris falls or breaks loose from any kind of truck or commercial vehicle, the resulting obstacles on the roadway can cause serious injury or death to the motorists following the trucks. Objects can even fall directly onto a following vehicle and cause an accident. Heavy piping, heavy equipment, appliances, and logs are all known to have fallen off of trucks. It’s also not unheard of for a vehicle to fall off a car carrier. Small items that fall off trucks can also cause a dangerous situation. Unexpected roadway obstructions can force other drivers to make quick and hazardous maneuvers to avoid them.

Overloaded cargo or incorrectly loaded cargo can cause other kinds of truck accidents that do not involve cargo that falls suddenly. If an over-sized truck is loaded in such a way that it becomes too top-heavy, this can increase the risk of it jackknifing or overturning around curves. A truck that has jack-knifed or been involved in an

Ceiling Collapse Exposes Workers to Asbestos and Traps Two

Asbestos is used for insulation in buildings.

Two workers preparing to remove asbestos from a building on Long Island were injured after a ceiling collapsed. Asbestos rained down and a 30×50 piece of concrete with metal reinforcing rods fell on them, reported CBS News (10.17.14). The construction was taking place at the vacant Nassau County government office building in Mineola.

Police department personnel removed the two men trapped inside the debris.  Both were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

The other 17 members of the work crew inside the building at the time of the ceiling collapse were able to escape the building.  They were decontaminated for asbestos.

An environmental cleaning company from Queens was the employer of everyone involved in the incident.

The New York State Department of Labor requires asbestos elimination.

Asbestos are a known human carcinogen and a very serious health hazard.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the EPA, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have all said asbestos can cause cancer. The National Cancer Institute points to studies that have shown exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma.  Studies have also suggested an association between asbestos exposure and other cancers, including cancers of the kidney, throat, gallbladder and esophagus.  In addition, exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of asbestosis and other respiratory disorders.

Construction workers face significant asbestos exposure on the job. WebMD discusses asbestos exposure. If asbestos materials in a building are disturbed and the microscopic fibers are released into the air, there is a high risk of exposure to them. When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they may get trapped in a person’s lungs and remain there. Over time, these fibers can build up and cause scarring and inflammation.  In turn, breathing can be affected and permanent damage can occur.

Signs and symptoms of these diseases may not appear for 10 to 40 or more

Viral Video “Exposing” Racial Profiling Of Muslims By NYPD Revealed To Be Hoax

A viral video allegedly exposing a New York Police Department racial profiling incident was put online on October 19 and received more than 200,000 views within three days. Footage showed a NYPD police officer frisking a pair of Muslim men twenty minutes after they changed from Western clothing into traditional Islamic dress.

Four days later, the video called “TrueStoryASA” was revealed to be a hoax.

However, before the video was revealed to be staged, it received coverage from a number of media sources, including The Independent and The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post had called the video “a small glimpse into the ugly world of racial profiling.” The video was also tweeted out by the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as an example of discrimination against Muslims, reported The Huffington Post in an October 22 story update.

On October 21, Comedians Sheikh Akbar and Adam Saleh posted their apology for the video.  They revealed that they were the creators of the viral video and their “social experiment” was staged.  They claimed that the video was a “dramatization” meant to bring awareness to racial profiling. The also updated the description on their video.

Apparently, Saleh and Akbar were looking for the video to go viral and pile up views. They would then rack up more viewers, as well as get ad revenue.

In the updated Huffington Post article, Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s national communications director, condemned the video.  He said it was potentially damaging to the Muslim community in that the next time a Muslim calls in a hate crime, other people may claim that it is a fake.

Racial profiling in New York is not a joke.  Since the 9/11 terror attacks, the Muslim community has had a complicated relationship with the NYPD.  In April 2014, the NYPD finally disbanded the Zone Assessment Unit, the unit that conducted surveillance and mapped New York’s Muslim communities, their

World’s Fastest Ambulance Is Introduced In Dubai

Sports cars can serve as very speedy emergency response vehicles.

Dubai introduced the world’s fastest emergency response vehicle at Gitex Technology Week as part of a “smart government” program being developed by the United Arab Emirates.  The event was held at Dubai’s World Trade Centre from October 12 to October 16.  GITEX stands for Gulf Information Technology Exhibition.

The ambulance was a refitted $160,000 Lotus Evora sports car.  It will be packed with high-tech life-saving equipment and will allow paramedics to travel at speeds of up to 185mph.  This speed will reportedly cut first responder response time by minutes, said the BBC News.

The two-seater is not designed to transport patients.  Rather it will allow a paramedic and his equipment to get to the accident scene quickly.  Once there, the paramedic can start to stabilize a patient before the slower ambulance gets there.  The high-speed emergency vehicle was fitted with a hard-cased widescreen notebook that can transmit information gathered by the paramedics to the hospital or an incoming crew. A defibrillator and first aid kit fit behind the driver’s seat and an oxygen supply is in the trunk, the BBC News (10.16.14) said.

The new fleet of ambulances will also include two Ford Mustangs and, possibly, a Chevrolet Corvette.  The cars are expected to be in operation by the end of the year.

However smart this strategy sounds, using sports cars as emergency response vehicles may not be the best idea. According to Matt Zavadksy, director of public affairs at MedStar Mobile Healthcare, who was interviewed for an article in Wired, response times are not the best measure of how a patient may fare.

“Clinically, it’s not going to make a difference,” Zavadsky said, “Any response time over five minutes does not make a difference in the patient’s outcome as long as first responders arrive within 15 minutes or so. The shortest possible response time matters only in cases

Video of Truck-Auto Accident Shows Importance of Video as Evidence

A viral Internet video shows what can go wrong if a driver decides to overtake a truck and cross two lanes of traffic to exit a highway without being able to see what is in the lane she is switching to. After watching the video on Jalopnik (10.15.14), it is almost hard to imagine that the driver of the Ford Focus could survive. Jasmien Claeys, 25, was in a coma, shattered her hand, and broke her top two vertebrae, but is alive.

In any car accident case, liability has to be proven on the part of the defendant to obtain damages. Video footage is one type of evidence that can make proving a case much easier. In this case, Claeys appears to be at fault for the accident.

Auto accident lawyers often seek to uncover available video footage that can provide insight into the exact causes of an accident. A video recording is often one of the most vital pieces of evidence that can be used in determining what happened in any traffic accident case. Drivers and witnesses typically have differing stories about what happened. Sometimes, too, the story will change if a driver has done something to contribute to the accident and does not want to share that information.

In the auto accident video on Jalopnik, the video appears to be from a dashboard camera on a truck. In other cases, accident video may be captured on cell phones or surveillance cameras installed on buildings or other structures in the area.

In cases where victims do not live to share their accounts of what happened to cause the vehicular accident, video footage can help in determining the circumstances of the incident. An experienced auto accident lawyer will find out whether video footage is available that can offer insight into what occurred. Regardless of whether or not a video recording is available to help identify what happened to cause an

David Perecman Urges Health Officials to Do More To Keep Health Care Workers Safe After Second Nurse Diagnosed With Ebola

A second Texas health worker tested positive for Ebola after caring for the first U.S. patient diagnosed with the virus in Dallas. Forbes (10.15.14) reported that there were allegations that the Dallas nurses did not have sufficient protections against the deadly virus. The Ebola outbreak shows that being on the front lines of disease can be particularly dangerous business for health-care workers.

Attorney at Law David Perecman urged federal and state health officials to do more to effectively keep health care workers safe.

“Extensive training and the right personal protective equipment should be provided to all health care workers handling Ebola cases,” said Perecman.

Ebola patients are highly infectious and need constant monitoring.  This makes caring for them difficult.  When working with these patients, doctors, nurses, lab technicians and others must undertake comprehensive protections to ensure that fluids like blood, sweat, urine and vomit, expelled by Ebola patients do not touch their skin or get accidentally ingested.

Some hospitals demonstrated their ability to care for Ebola patients. Emory Healthcare was able to treat three different Ebola patients without any staff becoming sickened by the disease, reported Forbes.  However, Emory has an isolated infectious disease unit, as well as dedicated, high-level expertise in fighting problems like Ebola. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is a reminder that the average hospital may not be adequately prepared to handle Ebola, despite the assurance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The illness of the nurses plus the fact that more than 230 workers have died overseas trying to battle Ebola is a reminder that health-care workers put themselves at risk to treat the sick,” said Perecman.

When it comes to treating Ebola patients, health-care workers must be extremely careful. According to the CDC, there are approximately 30 distinct steps workers have to take to avoid a risk of infection.

Of course, Ebola is not the only danger health care workers face on the