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Which common healthcare mistakes are behind the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits?

A medical malpractice case can arise from any situation where a patient is harmed. Be that from a doctor, nurse, specialist, or any situation which does not provide proper healthcare treatment. Great care and caution go into making sure healthcare professionals make no mistakes and thankfully, only a small number of cases occur each year. Within that number of cases that occur each year, a few errors show up more often than all the others. One thing people are often misguided about concerning medical malpractice is that just because a mistake was made, or a patient is unhappy with the outcome of a course of treatment does not imply malpractice has occurred. To be a case of medical malpractice, a healthcare professional must have acted below the standard of care.

The most frequent medical mistakes that lead to malpractice cases are delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, childbirth injuries, medication errors, surgery errors, and anesthesia errors. These types of errors happen over and over in healthcare facilities all over the country. Often, they are preventable. When one of these accidents is caused by a provider’s negligence, they can be sued for medical malpractice.

According to the Sacramento Bee, more dog bites happen in North Sacramento than anywhere else in the city, citing 2,800 bite reports, many of which required hospital treatment, between 2012 and 2017. Of the twenty-three zip codes in the area, 95815 and 95838 reported the most dog bites, 647 total. One-fourth of all dog bite reports in the city. These two zip codes cover the area from American River to the city boundary in the north and from the east boundary to Steelhead Creek. City groups such as the Del Paso Heights Community Association confronted city officials about the dog bite problem in North Sacramento only to be told there was nothing they could do about it and there was not adequate funding for animal control in the city.

Gina Knepp, the manager of Front Street Shelter and person responsible for the city’s animal control, is quoted as saying proactive measures are limited because there are only six animal control employees and never more than two on duty at the same time. A backlog of more than 270 dog bite complaints existed earlier this year.

A report from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 2013 showed that when crime and social disease are a part of the community, there are also problems with animal control. In the report, impounded animals at SPCA shelters and those by the city and county of Sacramento were investigated and the highest concentrations were found in Del Paso Heights and Oak Park. The information from the report was combined with a map of the city’s worst areas for building code violations. The most dog bite problems happen in the areas with poor housing maintenance and code violations. There tends to be less fenced in areas and more dogs roaming free on the streets.

General Motors is continuously increasing the size of its fleet of autonomous cars just as more and more accidents are being reported. In September 2017 alone, six accidents were reported of GM autonomous cars being involved in an accident. All six were between autonomous cars and those driven by real people. A spokesperson for GM, Rebecca Mark, claimed all incidents this year were caused by a human driver. Their comment is that as real drivers and autonomous cars become more acquainted with each other on the road, there will be less accidents.

The question on many minds is, who pays for the damages if one of these self-driving cars happens to be at fault? With so many self-driving cars on the road, especially in San Francisco, many people are wondering who is at fault in the aftermath of a wreck and where does the insurance payout come from. It is an especially perplexing question since these types of cars are said to be manufactured to avoid that issue all together. While GM says it will take all responsibility for any accident their cars are responsible for, they also say it is too early to tell what any liability issues will entail and they are learning as they go.

Legally speaking, as soon as a car begins to drive in autonomous mode, the driver or rider is passing off all responsibility. Liability shifts to the auto manufacturer. The new Super Cruise model of the Cadillac CT6 allowed drivers to enjoy a level two of automation. In level two, drivers are still in control of the car but the car assists. The driver is still liable for all accidents he or she incurs.

Many drivers do not fully understand what huge impact car accidents have on the cost of their insurance. It is easy to understand why your own wrecks increase your rates, but harder to comprehend the correlation of the nation’s crash rate and insurance costs. What’s more, there are specific types of car accidents that happen more often than others and make the biggest impact on car insurance costs. Not only do your own accidents influence your car insurance rates, but those in the community around you, especially if they are one of these five specific types.

Five Most Common Types of Car Accidents in the United States

While the specific circumstances will vary, there are five different types of accidents that happen repeatedly in the United States. A large majority of these accidents are minor and end up in nothing more than a few dents and bruises. Unfortunately, a smaller percentage end tragically in a death or with serious and life-altering injury. Any accident can be deadly. The five most common types of car accidents are:

Car insurance can be hard to understand. What makes it even harder is that you don’t really know what can happen until you have an accident. The tiny fine print you skimmed over or the legal terms that you didn’t really understand can come back to haunt you at the worst possible moment. The pain and emotional stress of a car accident is overwhelming, add approximately unsettling and costly surprises from the insurance company and you have the recipe for a nervous breakdown.

Some people don’t realize it, but many of us cause our own policy cancellations and other issues that result in not as much coverage as we thought we had or not having any at all. Some things we all do, on purpose or not, that put us in danger of being without coverage. If the insurance carrier decides you’ve broken any of their diehard rules, they can drop you in a second. Some of these things are obvious to most people, others are surprising but all can have you without accident coverage.

DUI or Otherwise Impaired

Teen drivers are already at a higher risk of car accident than other age groups of drivers, but those with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are 36% more likely than other adolescent drivers to have an accident. This information comes from a recent study from JAMA Pediatrics, although latter studies have shown even higher percentages. Some stating teens with ADHD are as much as four times more likely than their peers to wreck.

The new study was able to use larger samples of teens and rely on more efficient reporting styles than older studies, making it more dependable. Information was compiled using 18,500 electronic health records for minors from six New Jersey primary care facilities. Almost 2500 had ADHD. Although this risk is substantial, the study shows it is manageable.

A chronic condition, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, manifests itself with symptoms of hyperactivity and impulse control issues. They have substantial complications sustaining concentration and focus. These symptoms while driving can impair the driver in much the same way as if they were intoxicated. Long-distance driving is particularly risky for people with ADHD because they become easily distracted. Distracted driving is illegal and consists of anything that takes the drivers attention from the task of driving. Examples include texting, talking on the phone, tuning the radio and talking with passengers. An interesting fact that came out of the study is that most teens with ADHD do not get their licenses until they are older.

 

Both sides of the medical malpractice tort reform debate are out in full-force lobbying Congress concerning a House GOP bill which aims to cap pain, suffering and all non-economic damages in a medical malpractice suit. The bill also lays out more limitations in malpractice suits involving care provided or funded by the federal branch of government.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa authored the bill called The Protecting Access Care Act of 2017. It creates a three-year statute of limitations after the damage is done, or one-year after the injured party discovers the damage, whichever occurs first. While it limits non-economic damages to $250,000, it does not preempt caps established by states. There are also limitations on plaintiff attorney contingency fees and other provisions.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi received word from over 80 advocacy groups against the bill referred to H.R.1215, stating it removes the rights of patients who are injured in malpractice cases, elder abuse cases, prescription of dangerous drug negligence, and defective medical devices. They further claim that even if only applied to medical care facilities and staff, studies show its provisions would cause more injury and death due to the wide loosening of care. The letter written by the advocacy groups cited a 2003 Consumer Watchdog study that disputes the idea that California’s malpractice cap is the primary reason behind the premiums for doctors being lowered. They go on to write that trial lawyers lobby for the bill in order to raise their fees.

Sexual harassment is a prevailing problem among both genders. Most people think of it as an issue that happens at work but it can occur anywhere people are together. Sexual harassment is any type of unwanted sexual advance, obscene remark, or illicit carnal innuendo. It doesn’t matter if it happens in the workplace, another professional environment, or in a social context. Unwanted sexual content of any nature during a human encounter can be considered sexual harassment. We like to think our little slice of heaven here in Sacramento and our beautiful surrounding area is impenetrable by such evils of the world but, unfortunately, sexual harassment happens even here.

The 2012 case of Lisa Beauchamp, who sued her boss at the Teamsters Union for maintaining a sexually charged environment, is particularly interesting. She sued her boss, Tim Tobin, and the Teamsters Union 150 and won. The strange turn this case took was that she filed her lawsuit after the statute of limitations ran out. So, even though she won, she was not allowed to collect any money for her pain and suffering. The Teamsters representative made a statement to the effect that the judgment meant nothing and his client was exonerated although he had been found guilty of having party girls sit on his lap, massage him, and consistently make lascivious commentary. The verdict required no punishment simply because too much time had passed. There is no protection for future workers at the Teamsters Union 150.

Another most unusual local harassment case happened at the Yahoo headquarters where a female employee, Nan Shi, accused a female executive, Maria Zhang, of sexually harassing her in 2014. Her complaint explains how the female executive promised a bright and successful future in the company for her if she was to provide her with sexual favors both physically and virtually. The female employee complained to authorities but no investigation ever took place. She was given unpaid leave instead. The unpaid leave eventually turned into termination of her employment. She also noticed that her previous performance reviews were changed to show poor work performance. Yahoo vehemently denied any wrongdoing on the part of the executive.


The county of Marin is being accused of violating state law for instances in which it did not inform the public of settlements in personal injury lawsuits. The accusations come from a Mill Valley lawyer, Carter Zinn, who claims the country stretches the limits of the Brown Act in its practices in personal injury settlements. The Brown Act precedes over meetings of the California legislator on local levels. It maintains the laws for public access to information.

After a recent meeting, it was reported County Counsel Brian Washington admitted the county reveals personal injury settlements only rarely but still claimed the county follows the Brown Act. He maintained that when another party approves to the final settlement agreement it is not general practice for the county to then announce it.

Carter Zinn is representing a man from Mill Valley, Allan Rosenthal, who had sued the county for his 2014 bicycle accident where he was hit by a car and suffered serious head injury on the Panoramic Highway on Mount Tamalpais. The area where he was hit is known as Four Corners. Three roads meet there, Panoramic Highway, Sequoia Valley Road and Muir Woods Road, and it is known for being a dangerous spot.

Today, I would like to speak to you about how details are important when it comes to the practice of law. Sometimes, all it takes is one tiny little thing that can change the outcome of an entire claim.

For those who don’t know, an Oxford comma is what we also refer to as the serial comma. It is a stylistic recommendation that a comma should be used before coordinate conjunctions (usually and or or) in a series of three or more terms. This advocation exists to try and avoid ambiguity. But the world of writing seems to keep fighting a constant battle on whether this comma should be taken as a mere recommendation or something more.

The latest story comes from Maine, where a local dairy product company is facing a lawsuit for over $10 Million due in overtime hours to truck drivers, and at the heart of the dispute is the lack of this comma in a state law. In essence, the clause states that the following tasks are not eligible for overtime:

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