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Medical errors could increase revenues for hospitals

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

A recent study found some shocking information about hospital errors, and who pays the costs for those errors. According to the study, people who are hospitalized because of complications spend, on average, four times as long in the hospital. It also found that private insurers are often charged, but Medicare, Medicaid and patients themselves often don’t pay directly for the increase expenses from hospital stays.

Although private insurers are generally the payers of these mistakes, people can sometimes still be asked to pay, and the study found that on average, the expenses paid to hospitals for a complication are $30,000 more than patients who don’t have complications. One thing that the study didn’t account for was the out-of-pocket expenses that patients have when their family visits or when they aren’t able to work because of their extended hospital stay. 

Some people might be critical of the insurance companies that pay for the expenses related to these complications. They believe that if insurers stopped paying for substandard care, doctors and hospitals would make fewer errors. These errors might become less profitable for hospitals if insurance companies stop paying for care that is needed because of errors.

However, doctors and medical staff still need to be aware of when they aren’t feeling they can provide the care that patients deserve. Allowing doctors to work shorter shifts, and making sure they are properly supported and supervised throughout the patient’s care can help minimize errors. If someone is injured because of a medical error, an experienced New York City personal injury attorney can help them seek compensation.

Source: New York Times, “Hospitals Profit From Surgical Errors, Study Finds,” Denise Grady, April 16, 2013

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Deadly workout supplement can’t be banned

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, April 19th, 2013

In 1994, the Food and Drug Administration was exempt from reviewing and approving dietary supplements. This industry has flourished as people try to get in shape, and use supplements to gain a slight increase in their ability to lose weight or gain muscle. One supplement in particular has caught the attention of the FDA, but the agency can do little except send out a warning.

The supplement the agency is worried about is Jack3d, with contains the ingredient 1,3 dimethylamylamine or DMAA. This ingredient has reportedly been linked to cases of increased anxiety, depression, vomiting, and even death. Since the product can’t be regulated by the FDA, there is little the agency can do to ban it. This product has grown in popularity among fitness enthusiasts, but many experts believe it isn’t worth the risks.

Because the government doesn’t regulate many industries, it is important that companies thoroughly test their products and help ensure that they are safe for consumers, or that consumers understand if there are safety risks involved with using a product.

If a person is injured because of a dangerous product in New York City, they might be wise to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help a person understand their rights and work to help them seek compensation to treat their injuries.

While this product is unlikely to be banned, it is illegal, according to a report citing the FDA. Even though it is illegal, it can still be found on shelves and be easily accessible to consumers.

Source: NBC News, “Deadly workout supplement? Jack3d outside FDA’s reach,” Janet Klein et al, April 11, 2013

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Major helmet maker loses lawsuit in brain injury case

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Traumatic Brain Injury on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Many people play high school football. Generally they understand the sport as an aggressive game, but many people still remain unaware of the limitations of the safety equipment used by players. The most obvious piece of equipment is the helmet. No player would ever go into a game without it. However, what risks still remain even with a helmet on?

Players can still sustain hits that could result in significant brain injuries. These helmets also might not protect against damage to a person’s spine. According to a report, a jury recently found Riddell, the largest helmet manufacturer in the country, at fault for failing to warn players of the continued risks to their health despite the use of the helmet. The lawsuit was brought against the company after a young man experienced a traumatic brain injury and was paralyzed on the left side of his body.

The jury also found that the high school player’s coaches were also negligent. However, they were not being required to pay fines in the case. Riddell will have to pay $3.1 million in damages, although the company will likely appeal the ruling. Some people might wonder why damage awards for some cases are so high.

When a person suffers from a catastrophic injury, their life will change in an instant. They might be forced to quit their jobs, and might need help with daily tasks that many people can do without assistance. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars for people to treat their injuries initially. Over a person’s lifetime a very severe injury could cost millions of dollars in medical and long-term care expenses.

Source: The New York Times, “Judge Rules Against Football Helmet Manufacturer,” Ken Belson, April 14, 2013

-Our law firm handles New York City traumatic brain injury cases. Please visit our website to learn more.

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Airbag explosions could pose injury risk

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, April 12th, 2013

When people purchase a car, they now look at advanced safety features, often not even considering the quality of other features such as airbags, which are now in most vehicles on the road. However, these airbags provide drivers with great protection in certain accidents. When they function properly they might be lifesaving.

According to a report, a very popular brand of airbags has been recalled. The company that manufactured the airbags, Takata Corp., which is based in Japan, but supplies airbags to car manufacturers around the world, said that some of its airbags pose an explosion risk. Numerous reports from various car manufacturers suggest the propellant that expands the airbag might explode, sending shrapnel into the vehicle and possibly the occupants.

For that reason, approximately 3 million vehicles are being recalled that contain these airbags, and more recalls could come as the investigation into the dangerous product continues. The propellant in these airbags is supposed to be time released, but it can expand too quickly causing a canister in the airbag mechanism to explode. It appears that Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Nissan and GM vehicles might be affected by the recall and other companies are also looking into their cars and trucks.

An explosion like this would only be triggered if a person was in an accident that triggered the airbag. While it is reassuring that no reports have suggested the airbag explodes while driving normally, an accident is when people need these airbags to function properly. It is important that manufacturers are held accountable if their defective products cause injuries to people.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Huge recall for Honda, Toyota, more: Airbags can spray shrapnel,” Jerry Hirsch, April 11, 2013

-Our law firm handles personal injury cases in New York City. Please visit our website to learn more.

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NYC sends bike accident victim bill after being hit by police car

By | Bicycle Accidents | No Comments

On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Bicycle Accidents on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

When a person is hit by a vehicle, they might be severely injured. They are faced with hospital bills and might face future medical expenses for therapy or additional surgeries to repair injuries. Bike accidents happen all too frequently in New York City. Last fall, a man was hit by a police car while riding his bike. A couple weeks ago, he received a bill from the city, asking for $1,263 for the damage done to the police car.

Instead of apologizing for the injuries and paying for the man’s treatment at a hospital, he received a bill asking for payment. When a person is injured in a New York City bike accident, it is important that they understand their rights. The man found an attorney to help him handle the case.

When a person is hit by a vehicle, they could suffer from much more than just scrapes and bruises. They could experience broken bones or a traumatic brain injury, which could result in a much longer recovery and more medical expenses. An attorney can help a person understand their rights and work to seek compensation for their injuries.

Compensation isn’t meant to help undo injuries, but it can help a person pay for past medical expenses and seek future treatments and therapy. If a person isn’t able to work, and loses income as a result, the compensation might be able to help pay for other expenses. By evaluating potential future expenses an attorney can help a victim seek a proper amount of compensation.

Source: The Washington Times, “NYC bicyclist hit by police car – then charged for dents to vehicle,” Cheryl K. Chumley, April 8, 2013

-Our law firm handles bike accident cases in New York City. Please visit our website to learn more.

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NYC admits it will cause a lot of harm: $735 million forecast for 2012

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

A lot of bad things can happen in a year and New York City expects to pay out $735 million for its share of them in 2012. The city’s budget documents show that it forecasted this enormous amount to cover the cost of the harm that it’s unsafe actions will cause to it’s residents, and expects to pay as compensation through settlements and jury awards from a number of personal injury sources, including accidents involving the city’s motor vehicles, pothole accidents, police brutality, and malpractice cases arising from city hospitals.

This number is based on the city’s past experience and calculations of expected payouts in ongoing cases that the city plans to resolve before the end of the year. This budget category rose to $735 million from $664 million in the 2011 fiscal year, and suggests that virtually no efforts are being made by the city to address the root cause of the required compensation payments: unsafe conditions and actions of the city.

New York City pays a much higher amount than other cities. For example, Los Angeles only pays around $14 per person or $54 million total. New York City pays $81 per capita. Part of this gap reflects the structure of government operations in New York. The city is responsible for many more government functions, including public schools and city-run hospitals.

While the city attempts to play the victim and escape responsibility for needlessly hurting others, it fails to present any plan to eliminate unsafe conditions in the city and prevent city agencies from violating safety rules that needlessly hurt city residents.  Nor does it acknowledge that the city already enjoys certain protections from responsibility under the prior written notice law.  Maybe someday there will be a story asking why city officials are not held responsible for choosing to needlessly endanger the public instread of making our city safer. For now we must rely on the justice system to hold the city accountable.

Source: Bloomberg, “NYC Police Abuse Joins Pothole Settlements Costing $735 Million,” Henry Goldman, Sept. 3, 2012

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Report: NYC Aggressively Fights Personal Injury Claims

By | Premises Liability | No Comments

On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Premises Liability on Friday, May 18th, 2012

Personal injury claims are very common in New York City. The city faces approximately 6,400 personal injury lawsuits annually, ranging from minor slip and fall lawsuits to wrongful death actions. A recent article in the New York Times indicates that although city officials often offer their condolences after a resident is injured, city lawyers are sometimes unacceptably aggressive in combating legitimate personal injury claims.

“There is no question that when you litigate against the city, they push the envelope to limit payouts,” one former city lawyer said.

The New York Times noted the city’s legal strategies in the context of personal injury lawsuits related to falling trees. The lawsuits detail that the city’s maintenance and inspection of trees is erratic and that more diligence by city workers may have prevented citizen injuries and deaths.

New York City’s aggressive manner in responding to the falling-tree lawsuits raises the interesting competing obligations that city lawyers face. Aggressive legal tactics in personal injury lawsuits are not illegal, but city attorneys have unique duty to also ensure fair outcomes for residents with legitimate personal injury claims.

The city’s corporation counsel, Michael A. Cardozo, has launched an aggressive public campaign to limit the number of payouts to injured residents. Cardozo believes that courts unfairly punish the city in personal injury cases and that many residents receive more compensation than they are due. The New York Times article also highlights instances where the city has conducted secret monitoring of plaintiffs or spoiled evidence in order to gain an advantage in court.

An injured New York resident should hire a personal injury law firm that has the resources and legal experience necessary maintain a successful lawsuit against the city. Hiring a less experienced attorney may mean that an injured individual does not receive all of the compensation that he or she is entitled to.

Source: New York Times, “Sued Over Death and Injury From Trees, City Fights Back,” William Glaberson, May 15, 2012

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New York City pedestrians at risk of accidents with bicycles

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

According to a recent study, at least 500 pedestrians are struck by bicyclists each year in New York City alone. This is more than half of all pedestrian accidents involving bicycles in all of the state of New York.

Researchers suspect that there are actually many more accident victims than this number because the report only analyzed hospital data. The research did not take into account people who were injured but did not go to the hospital. Such victims may either not have sought medical treatment or went directly to their primary care doctor or to an urgent care clinic.

The research was funded by the widow of a New York City victim of a wrong-way bicyclist. She says she is not against bikes, even though a cyclist caused her husband’s wrongful death. Instead, she was interested in the information so that she could use the data to push for increased enforcement and education of laws pertaining to bicycles.

She is particularly concerned about preventing accidents such as the one that resulted in her husband’s death. In that regard, this woman is hoping to implement a road-safety pledge among restaurant delivery workers. In the end, however, she is primarily concerned with reducing the number of pedestrian-bicycle accidents.

Although it does appear that bikers are improving their safety, with New York City’s bike-sharing program, there is increased concern about people riding bicycles without knowing the basics about where they are going, the laws of the roads and even the language.

Of course, there are scenarios in which pedestrians actually cause accidents, such as when they are not paying attention. Perhaps, pedestrians need to be educated as well. However, the bottom line is that pedestrians have the right of way, and New York bicyclists must always be alert to their presence.

Source: New York Daily News, “East Harlem is the most dangerous part of New York for Bicyclists, new study finds,” Tracy Connor, Sept. 19, 2011

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Black children more likely to suffer fatal injuries in New York

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

In general, children are more susceptible to accidents and injuries than adults. This is primarily because of adults have more experience with and awareness of unsafe conditions and dangerous situations. As children learn and become aware of what is dangerous to them and what is safe, they often become less likely to be injured.

The good news is that according to a recent report, children in New York City are safer than those in other cities. Fewer New York City children die from fatal injuries when compared with the rest of the country. However, a recent report by the Health Department indicates that black New York City children are actually twice as likely to suffer a fatal injury as other children.

The study compiled statistics from fatal injuries from 2001 to 2009. It included 470 children, up to age 12. According to the report, six in 100,000 black children die from fatal injuries in New York City each year. This is twice as many as all other New York City children. But why is there a difference in fatal injuries between black children and all others?

In an effort to try to explain this concerning statistic, the Health Commissioner suggested that black children are more likely to live in housing with safety hazards and be more at risk from premises dangers, such as the lack of window guards.

It may seem like presuming that black children are more likely to live in low-income neighborhoods a stereotype. But what else can explain why black children are more at risk than other children? Are black children more at risk in New York City than black children nationwide, or is this phenomenon particular to New York City?

These are interesting and important questions. All New York City parents should be aware of the potential dangers that surround them in their homes and on the streets. Being aware is one way to prevent serious injuries and deaths. Of course, not all tragedies can be prevented, especially if someone else acts negligently or maliciously and causes a fatal accident. In that situation, families of children who are seriously injured or suffer wrongful deaths can often seek help from an experienced attorney.

Source: New York Daily News, “Black children are twice as likely to die of injuries than all other New York City kids: report,” Kathleen Lucadamo, Sept. 13, 2011

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Airplane maker ruled not responsible for fatal New York crash

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, June 3rd, 2011

On October 11, 2006, New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle was flying over Manhattan with his flight instructor, with plans to see the sights of New York from the air before heading toward the West Coast. But just north of the Queensboro Bridge, the plan began to spin out of control. It eventually crashed into a high-rise condominium building on the Upper East Side and plummeted to the ground in flames. Lidle, 34, and his 26-year-old flight instructor were killed on impact.

Earlier this year, the widows of both men filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Cirrus Design Corp., the company that manufactured the personal airplane involved in the fatal crash. In their suit, the widows alleged that design flaws in the Cirrus SR-20 were responsible for the events leading up to the deaths of their husbands.

In court, the widows’ attorney described Lidle and his instructor as experienced pilots, and described the last few minutes of their lives. “They’re fighting the controls and they see the building come at them,” he said. “The crew did everything they could do to control this airplane. It didn’t work.”

The attorney for Cirrus blamed the pilots for the crash, citing a 2007 review from the National Transportation Safety Board which ruled that pilot error was responsible for the deadly accident. Last month, the New York jury agreed, ruling that Cirrus was not liable for the accident or the fatalities.

After the verdict was read, the widows’ attorney stated that he expected the verdict after the judge refused to allow testimony that Cirrus changed several of its manufacturing processes, as well as the testimony of a flight instructor who barely avoided a similar crash less than a year earlier. The widows have stated that they plan to appeal.

Source: Bloomberg, “Cirrus Cleared by Jury in Yankees Player’s Fatal Plane Crash,” Chris Dolemtsch, 24 May 2011

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