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The Civil Justice System Supports Free Market Capitalism To Keep Us Safe

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Uncategorized on Saturday, October 6th, 2012

The recent announcement, as reported in the NY Times, that Blitz USA is closing it’s gasoline can manufacturing plant presents a lesson in how the civil justice system compliments free market capitalism and keeps the public safe.  Blitz claims that lawsuits arising from its gas can, manufactured and sold without flame arresters, have forced it to cease operations and close its plant. The US Chamber of Commerce, which allegedly supports free market capitalism, proclaims that this is an example of how lawsuits hurt business.

Factory Closing,

However, a little common sense and some basic economics leads to a much different conclusion. A decision about whether or not a product should be sold is made by a simple cost-benefit analysis: does the benefit gained from the sale of the product outweigh the cost?  The benefits can be easily established by looking at the revenue derived from selling the product given the price of the product as set by the producer. The cost can likewise be determined by looking at the manufacturers costs for research and development, production, marketing etc., and the cost of the harm done by the product to consumers.  The civil justice system, through lawsuits that evaluate the harm using the jury system, is essential in computing the cost of that harm.  If the total cost of the product, including the harm it inflicts, outweighs the products benefits, then the market has determined that the product should not be sold.  

A true free market system assumes and depends on informed consumers. Lawsuits help to inform the public about the usefulness and potential dangers of a product. Blitz USA’s choice not to provide flame arresters, ignoring safety and exposing the public to needless danger, ultimately proved a poor business decision.  Rather than accept responsibiity for it’s own mismanagement, Blitz USA and the US Chamber of Commerce have continued to use the civil justice system as a convenient excuse.

Medication Errors and Pharmacies

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

There are many things which can go wrong within a hospital and surgical errors account for the majority of medical malpractice incidents. Although most patients are not surprised hear that surgical mistakes happen, many people are unaware that what they bring home in a pill bottle may be just as dangerous.

A survey of Canadian community pharmacists indicates that up to 15 percent of the prescriptions they fill may contain an error of some sort. Safety advocates in that country pose the implementation of an electronic prescription database to catch potential medication errors and prescription drug abuse.

American doctors have begun to cut down on the number of pharmacy medication errors by dispensing their drugs themselves, but pharmacists note that this creates a host of other problems. Pharmacists have uniform and regulated procedures for the labeling, storage and supervision of medication, whereas physicians may be more lax in these matters.

Pharmacists also perform an important second check on prescriptions and may have a more accurate picture of a patient’s drug portfolio than a care provider. Medication errors are most likely to happen when a doctor prescribes a medicine, but pharmacists catch approximately half of these errors. This means that many patients will still suffer from dosage errors when pharmacists are used, but potentially far more will have issues if doctors continue to prescribe medications on their own.

Source: Financial Post, “When Pills Kill,” Rebecca Walberg, Feb. 28, 2012; Philly.com, “When doctors – not pharmacists – dispense meds,” Michael Cohen, March 13, 2012

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Bike Lanes: Do They Improve Pedestrian Safety?

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

The improvement of bike lanes on Oriental Boulevard in the Manhattan Beach section of Brooklyn has infuriated local residents, even though the New York City Department of Transportation believes that the new signs are simply replacements of existing signs that will reduce pedestrian accidents and improve rider safety.

Civic leaders have complained about the bike lanes for several years, saying that speeding drivers often ignore the lines. They have urged the DOT to move the bike lanes to Shore Boulevard, leaving Oriental Boulevard to motor vehicles. They say that the new signage indicates that the DOT has ignored their proposals and intends to keep the bike lanes on Oriental Boulevard.

The community is very concerned about speeding, and believes that the existence of bike lanes simply encourages scofflaws. A four-year old boy was killed last year on Oriental Boulevard by a speeding driver.

The DOT says that the installation of bike lanes has reduced bike and pedestrian accidents city-wide. The agency cites its recent Pedestrian Safety Report and Action Plan, which indicates that streets with marked bikes lanes are 40 percent safer for pedestrians.

Source:Sheepshead Bites, “DOT Installs Bike Lane Signs On Oriental Blvd, Infuriating Manhattan Beach Civics“, by Randy Rojas, Jan. 9, 2012.

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Who’s Responsible for Tailgating Fatality?

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

A tragic accident at the storied Harvard-Yale football game this year underscores issues of personal injury and liability law. One woman died and two more were injured at the Yale Bowl when a truck carrying beer suddenly accelerated into the crowd. The U-Haul truck was driven by a Yale junior, who passed a field sobriety test after the accident. The truck was impounded for analysis.

Although the student driver was not legally drunk, and his fraternity brothers said he had not been drinking, issues of alcohol and liability are perennial nightmares for administrators at both universities. Harvard’s tailgating rules tend to be more strict. For example, no kegs are allowed at tailgating parties, and trucks such as the U-Haul are not permitted. The Yale required wristbands for the first time this year, limiting access to the field where tailgating takes place.

Yale had considered banning U-Hauls because of safety concerns, but students objected and the University relented. Yale will review its tailgating policies. Additionally, it will need to answer questions such as its role in creating the conditions that allowed the accident to happen. Others involved in the accident will need to consider whether the truck was safe to operate and whether the driver was capable of driving the truck. There is clearly plenty of blame to go around.

Source: New York Times, “Fatal Accident at Yale Bowl Highlights Tailgating Debate“, by Thomas Kaplan, Nov. 20, 2011.

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Family awarded $1.7 million in medical malpractice case

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Last week a family was awarded $1.7 million in a medical malpractice case. The lawsuit itself stemmed from the 2005 death of a 42-year-old who had chest pains misdiagnosed as a torn muscle.

According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, the woman’s husband went to the doctor complaining of chest pain in 2004. At the time, that doctor said that the pain was from a torn muscle, and never even referred the man to a heart specialist to double check the condition.

The lawsuit claims that if the father of four children had been taken to a specialist, it would have been determined sooner that the pain in his chest was actually from a leaky heart valve. But, since the doctor failed to diagnosis the man in a timely matter, he did not receive a replacement valve in time and ended up dying at the age of 42.

In this case the lawsuit was against both the doctor who failed to properly diagnose the man, and also the clinic that he still currently works out.

When looking at medical malpractice, delayed diagnosis and a misdiagnosis are common occurrences that can have a serious impact not only on a patient who is in pain, but also their entire family. In New York medical malpractice cases involving failure to diagnose, it is up to either the family of the deceased – or the patient who was misdiagnosed – to prove that the outcome of their medical condition would have been different – both pain wise and also financially – if he or she had been properly treated in the beginning.

Source: Missoulian, “Billings family wins $1.7M medical malpractice lawsuit,” 22 Feb 2011

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Welcome to Our New York Personal Injury Law Blog

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Uncategorized on Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Welcome to the NYC Personal Injury Blog, the official blog of Kahn, Gordon, Timko & Rodriques, P.C.

Our personal injury attorneys have more than 70 years of experience fighting for those who have been injured on the job, in slip and fall accidents and by medical malpractice. In fact, at our New York office, we only handle personal injury cases and are 100 percent dedicated to protecting the public’s right to feel safe.

The NYC Personal Injury Blog is an opportunity for us to extend our public safety advocacy in a new direction. Here, we will collect the cases, laws and news of interest to those affected by unsafe practices.

We will focus on all areas of personal injury, including:

We welcome any comments or questions on the blog and look forward to engaging with you online. If you have a more sensitive question, or simply wish to speak with a personal injury attorney in person, you can always contact us online or by phone.