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Quincy MA Personal Injury Law Blog

Mailman sues homeowners after being injured in fall

At this particular time of year, the weather experienced here in Quincy can bring with it certain safety hazards. Home and property owners are required to be cognizant of the threats that the aftereffects of rain and snow can produce on their premises. However, in many cases, if one does not expect to do much walking around his or her property or to receive visitors, the temptation may be there to simply ignore cleaning up after a storm or prolonged period of bad weather. However, the need to keep sidewalks, steps, and walkways clear is as much to accommodate unexpected visitors as anything.

A New York homeowner is currently having to learn this lesson after being sued by his mailman. The letter carrier slipped and fell on wet moss that was covering a wooden walkway right outside of the house. The fall resulted in severe injuries to both his leg and foot, which required multiple surgeries and would not allow him to return to his work with the Postal Service. A settlement was recently agreed upon by the man and the homeowners’ insurer.

Recognizing the delayed onset of a TBI

Several of the Norfolk County residents who come to us here at Giarrusso Norton Cooley and McGlone, P.C. seeking compensation for loved ones who have suffered traumatic brain injuries were surprised at how long it took those injuries to manifest themselves. If you have a family member that has suffered head trauma yet appears to be OK immediately following his or her accident, you may mistakenly believe that he or she dodged a bullet. However, the absence of any signs to symptoms of a TBI immediately after sustaining trauma does not mean that one is not lurking beneath the surface.

When the head sustains trauma, blood vessels within it may rupture, causing swelling or even the accumulation of blood outside of the vessel. The result of such an accident could be a concussion, or a much more serious condition known as a hematoma. Depending upon the severity of the trauma, such problems could go undetected by diagnostic studies for hours or even days after an accident. This presents an added danger given that by the time these issues are finally detected, damage may have occurred that could be beyond the point of responding to treatment.

Man challenging four-year medical malpractice timely filing limit

Many may think that medical malpractice cases in Norfolk County simply involve an unhappy patient filing a complaint and the lawyers representing the doctors and/or hospitals involved quickly moving to settle. However, that is not often the case. Doctors and other medical providers stand behind the work that they do. At the same time, only a patient truly knows the impact that his or her provider’s alleged negligence had on his or her quality of life. If he or she truly believes that his or her care was inadequate, then he or she may very well be prepared to pursue the case to its very end.

An ongoing medical malpractice lawsuit in Ohio appears to reaching that point. The state’s Supreme Court is set to determine whether a man’s lawsuit against the clinic where he had his prostatectomy can go forward despite having passed the four year window in which patients are allowed to file such claims. The procedure originally took place in 2008, the results of which left the man unable to return to his job as a commercial airline pilot.

What are the tax implications of wrongful death rewards?

After having lost a loved one to an accident in Quincy, your first course of action is likely to be to grieve. After that may come the decision to pursue compensation for your loss through a wrongful death lawsuit. If and when you are rewarded a settlement from such action, your thoughts may then turn to discovering the tax implications of whatever settlement money that you may have coming in. Problems in dealing with a legal reward can easily add unnecessary stress to your life rather than helping to relieve the financial burden that your loved one left you with.

To understand how to successfully handle the taxes that result from a wrongful death lawsuit, you must understand the concepts of punitive and compensatory damages. Punitive damages are meant to serve as some small form of punishment. Compensatory damages, on the other hand, are specifically-designed to compensate for any incurred loss. The nature of these different forms of damages has a direct influence on how the money that results from them is treated when it comes to be tax season.

Understanding the dangers posed by chemical asphyxiants

Oftentimes, the Quincy clients that we assist here at Giarrusso Norton Cooley & McGlone, P.C. are surprised to learn that the most significant dangers posed by fire are unseen. As fire breaks materials down, compounds are released into the air that affect your ability to breathe, causing you to pass out. It is important that you understand how asphyxiants affect your body to avoid injury and spot where an inefficient evacuation plan could place you in danger.

Chemical asphyxiants can affect you in one of two ways: through changing the chemical composition of the air or affecting the way oxygen is absorbed into your body. According to the website ChemicalSpill.org, the normal concentration of oxygen in the air is 21 percent. When fire causes chemicals to be released into the air, the resultant chemical imbalance reduces that percentage of oxygen. This, in turn, impedes your ability to breathe and leads to asphyxiation. The physical manifestations of a decrease in the oxygen content in the air are classified by the four stages of asphyxiation. These are:

  •          First: Rapid pulse, impeded motor functions; manifest at 20.9 - 19.5 percent oxygen concentration.
  •          Second: Fatigue, impaired judgment; manifest at 19.5 – 12 percent oxygen concentration.
  •          Third: Nausea and vomiting, possible brain damage; manifest at 10 – 6 percent oxygen concentration.
  •          Fourth: Respiratory failure, death; manifest at less than 6 percent oxygen.

Outlining Massachusetts’ stance on sovereign immunity

Quincy residents who slip, fall, or suffer any form of an injury-sustaining accident on another person’s property likely know that if they believe negligence contributed to their plight, they may choose to bring a civil action against the property owner. However, such accidents do not always happen on private property. What if one injures him or herself on public or government land? Given that either the federal or state government is the property owner, can one still sue for compensation?

For many years in the U.S., the answer to that question would be no. Federal, state, and even local governments were at one time under the protection of a legal principle known as sovereign immunity. The Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School defines this philosophy as immunity from tort liability for all government agencies. However, in 1946, the Federal Tort Claims Act was passed, in which the federal government waived its right to sovereign immunity, effectively opening the door to lawsuits against federal agencies and employees. The right was given to the states to determine if they would follow suit.

Understanding post-concussion syndrome

We at Giarrusso Norton Cooley and McGlone, P.C. often hear from Quincy clients who have suffered head trauma in an accident that they were lucky to escape with just a concussion. If you count yourself among this group, then you may have been told by someone that a concussion is only a mild injury that rarely produces dangerous results. However, while concussions many not produce to same sort of immediate impairment often associated with severe traumatic brain injuries, their effects can linger over time and produce what is known as post-concussion syndrome.

Most expect the effects of a concussion to abate in a week or two. It is when your symptoms continue past this amount of time that you may be suffering from post-concussion syndrome. The initial symptoms often continue to be the same that you experienced immediately following your concussion, such as a lack of mental focus and even an intellectual dullness. Pretty soon, effects begin to progress into:

  •          Memory loss
  •          Attention deficits
  •          Rapid mood swings
  •          Waning energy
  •          Permanent personality changes

How can cancer be misdiagnosed?

Those in Quincy who have been given the dreaded news that they have cancer will tell you that receiving such a diagnosis and dealing with the emotional stress that accompanies it can exact just as great a toll as the cancer itself. If you were given such a diagnosis, yet later found out it was incorrect, most would assume that your first impulse would be to jump for joy. Yet if you are like most who receive such news, then your thoughts are like focused on why a doctor would misdiagnose you with cancer in the first place.

Information gathered by the BMJ Quality and Safety Journal and shared by Boston Magazine puts the percentage of patients misdiagnosed with cancer at 28 percent. When considering why such cases occur, the same Boston Magazine article went on to say that according to doctors themselves, they believe cancer misdiagnoses occur because of the following factors:

  •          Relying on incomplete or fragmented information coming in from multiple medical information systems.
  •          Limited diagnostic resources.
  •          Limited access to a patient’s genetic information at the time of diagnosis.

Defining loss of consortium

When people die in Quincy, the impact of their death is often felt far beyond their mere absence. In many cases, one may have been looked to as a provider for a spouse and/or children. The potential compensation available through a wrongful death lawsuit (if negligence is believed to have contributed to one’s death) is meant to help lessen the impact of that loss. In the case of the deceased’s financial contribution to his or her dependents, that number may be easily quantifiable. However, how does one determine the costs of compensating for the emotional void a person leaves behind?

The legal principle meant to allow for non-injury compensation following the death of a loved one is known as loss of consortium. The Legal Information Institute of Cornell University Law School defines this as the “deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship.” Many often question whether one can seek damages for loss of consortium or companionship in a wrongful death lawsuit. Massachusetts state law is very clear in this regard. It lists the reasons for which one can pursue a wrongful death claim to include the loss of:

  •          Society
  •          Companionship
  •          Comfort
  •          Guidance
  •          Council
  •          Advice

Explaining the idea of an attractive nuisance

Some of the saddest cases that we have dealt with here at Giarrusso Norton Cooley and McGlone, P.C. are accidents involving children. If your child has been seriously injured or killed on another’s property or while in another’s care, you may wonder what sort of legal recourse you have to help compensate for your family’s suffering. In cases involving accidents on other people’s property, many often assume that if your child did not have permission to be near the hazard that ultimately caused his or her injuries, then the property owner is not responsible. However, that is not always the case.

According the Legal information Institute at Cornell University Law School, the law recognizes that children do not often have the understanding needed to know that certain terrains, machines, or unique property features may pose a risk. Thus, the property owners on which these potential dangers reside have a responsibility to protect children from them. This is known as the attractive nuisance doctrine, and it may offer you a way to hold the owner of the property where your child was injured responsible for his or her accident.

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Giarrusso Norton Cooley & McGlone, P.C.
Marina Bay
308 Victory Road
Quincy, MA 02171

Phone: 617-770-2900
Toll Free: 617-770-2900
Fax: 617-773-6934
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