Articles Posted in General Negligence

The Oregonian reports that Christine Shertzer was awarded a $108K settlement for injuries she received when an Australian shepherd bit her at a party.

Shertzer, 43, claimed that the dog’s owners were negligent for allowing their dog to roam freely during the party.

Shertzer suffered serious dog bit injuries in the attack and had to have plastic surgery to repair facial injuries. According to her attorney, she has has permanent numbness of her lip, and eating and drinking is difficult and she can no longer kiss without experiencing pain.

There was conflicting testimony at the trial as to the aggressive nature and history of the dog. The homeowner claimed that Shertzer had handled the dog roughly. However, other witnesses testified that the dog was unpredictable and aggressive and a veterinarian testified that the dog had bit her.

Shertzer had filed a claim for $668,420 for medical bills, pain and suffering and for pain and suffering. However, the jury voted 12-0 finding Shertzer 48% at fault for petting a dog unknown to her.

The homeowner’s insurance policy will pay the settlement.

Dog Bite Liability

Dog bite injuries can often leave victims with disfigurement, scarring and permanent nerve damages. Nerve damage can cause constant pain. Dog bite victims often have to undergo multiple surgeries to correct damage.

Washington State Dog Bite Law

Washington state code 16.08.040 finds that owners of any dog that injures a person are liable for the damages that the bitter person suffers regardless of the former viciousness of the dog. If the dog owner knew their dog was prone to biting, then can be held liable for injuries and that liability is expanded.

Bellevue Dog Bite Attorney

Herbert Farber, a Bellevue personal injury attorney, represents dog bite victims and their families. Our law firm takes seriously the injuries suffered when a person has been attacked by a dog. We work hard to insure that the dog bite victim receives the compensation they deserve to cover medical costs, loss of wages, rehabilitation costs and for pain and suffering.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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Vanessa and Josh Ellis, of Bonney Lake, and their 8-month old baby son were killed Monday night when a slab of concrete fell from a Highway 410 overpass and struck their motor vehicle crushing it.

Construction workers were working to install a sidewalk when the accident occurred.

The Ellis’ were traveling on Angeline Street under the 410 in their Toyota pickup truck.

This tragic accident stunned the neighbors and friends of the young couple who said that anyone of them could have been killed as this was a road that they all traveled.

An investigation into the accident is ongoing. One question that must be answered is why there were not flaggers or traffic diversion measures taken during the work on the overpass.

In all likelihood, there may be a case of negligence in the death of this young couple and their baby. The family of the deceased may be able to file a wrongful death claim on the couple’s behalf. The law requires that a contractor exercise what is known as “reasonable care” to foresee that people might be injured during the work. In addition, the entities that hired the contractor may also be held responsible for the negligence of the contractor.

Road construction contractors have a legal duty to safeguard the public and make driving safe while construction is ongoing. Failure to do so may be a breach of contract. In this case, it seems apparent that the contractors failed to warn motorists of hazards.

In bringing a wrongful death claim, there is a statute of limitation in Washington and an attorney should be consulted so that a right to claim is protected.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We have more than 30 years experience representing families with their wrongful death claims. Call today for a free and confidential consultation.

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Yesterday was the year anniversary of the death of Maurecio Bell, who died in an escalator accident after he fell and his clothing got tangled on the University Street Station escalator in Seattle.escalator

Since then, The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries estimates that more than 60 people have suffered injuries related to riding on an escalator in Washington.

Escalators seem such a ubiquitous part of American life whether one is shopping at Bellevue Square or catching a flight at SeaTac airport. It’s hard to imagine that can pose a hazard, especially to small children.

carbon monoxide death lawyerWe just read a tragic story by KOMO News about twin brothers in their 80’s who died of carbon monoxide poisoning while working on an antique car in the garage at one of their homes.

The death of William Schofield and Walter Schoenfield comes but days after a
Carbon monoxide leak at a Long Island mall killed a restaurant managers and seriously injured a restaurant employee. In all 26 people had to be treated from exposure to carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and is the leading cause poisoning death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 400 Americans die from accidental carbon monoide poisoning every year.

Carbon monoxide is a odorless and colorless gas which is tasteless and at first exposure is non-irritating. Because of these characteristics carbon monoxide might not be detected until people become ill unless there is a carbon monoxide detector present.

State fire codes do not require carbon monoxide detectors except in places where people sleep.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include:

  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Vertigo
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness

At higher levels of the gas, carbon monoxide can cause a person to lose consciousness and can prove fatal.

In Washington state, we have seen incidents of carbon monoxide during period during power outages and people try to heat their houses with their oven or bring a barbecue in the house to cook.

Washington Accident Attorney: Tips to Prevent Accidental Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

To prevent accidental death in your own home or business, follow these tips:

  • Make sure furnaces and appliances are installed correctly including proper venting.
  • Make sure chimney flues are not blocked.
  • Use precaution when service fuel-burning appliances.
  • Do not use portable generators or gasoline engine-powered tools in an enclosed space.
  • Do not run a car in a garage, even with the garage door open.
  • Do not burn charcoal inside a home.
  • Do not use gas powered appliances such as an oven to heat your home.
  • Install CO alarms in hallways and in sleeping areas of your home.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have become ill due to carbon monoxide poisoning due to defective products or through the negligence of another. We also assist families with their wrongful death lawsuits as a result of losing a family member due to a negligent or wrongful act.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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Seattle Children’s hospital has notified the parents of 100 children that their child may be at risk for infection after the hospital discovered that some equipment used in colonoscopies was not properly sanitized.

Citing a “cleaning process lapse,” the hospital’s medical director Dr. Danielle Zerr, said that the risk of infection was low but that the hospital is recommending screen for hepatitis B and C and HIV which are infectious diseases..

The patient calls came after a “cleaning process lapse” was discovered on two auxiliary channel scopes according to The Seattle Times. Apparently technicians were not properly trained in cleaning procedures.

Patients who underwent colonoscopy testing prior to early November should contact the hospital’s information line at 206-987-5193.

It may be of little comfort to parent’s whose children may have been exposed to a potentially serious disease that the chance of infection is “low.”

One study of five hospitals nationwide found that 3 of 20 endoscopes used in colonoscopy exams were contaminated with fecal matter from previous patients. Any biological material on equipment such as an endoscope which is inserted into the rectum can pass on infection such as hepatitis and HIV.

Colonoscopies are procedures that most people dread regardless of age. Not only is the preparation for the exam not very pleasant but the thought that equipment is not 100% sterile is frightening.

One factor in non-sterile endoscopy equipment is the nature of many colonoscopy clinics. Clinics often schedule one patient after another and this puts stress on the staff to completely sanitize equipment in preparation for the next patient. One solution to this problem is for the clinic to purchase sufficient equipment.

Hospital-acquired infections are a concern for any patient . Failure to wash hands, failure to control the spread of microorganisms in sinks and wash basins, contaminated surgical instruments and failure to properly dispose lab waste can all result into a hospital-acquired infection.

Bellevue Hospital Infection Lawyer

Herbert Farber, the founder of The Farber Law group, is a Washington hospital infection attorney with 30 years experience in medical malpractice claims. Call our office to evaluate the circumstances of your injury or a loved one’s death after a hospital-acquired infection.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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David Kwiatkowski, 34, a cardiac technologist who bounced from one hospital to another despite being fired from at least four hospitals, has been convicted of stealing painkillers and infecting 46 or more people with hepatitis C.

Kwiatkowski stole painkillers from syringes and replaced the medication with saline. The syringes became tainted with his own blood which in turn infected the patients he was supposed to be caring for. Patients in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Kansas were infected by hepatitis C of the same strain as Kwiatowski.

Kwiatkowski pleaded guilty on August 16 and was sentenced to 39 years in prison.

Hepatitis C is a blood borne disease that causes inflammation of the liver. It can spread when a person is exposed to the blood of a person who has the virus. Of those exposed to the hep-C virus, 75%-85% suffer chronic hep-C. Hepatitis C symptoms do not appear until the infected person suffers serious liver damage including cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer. The infection can result in death.

Some people, like the victims in this case, can become infected to hepatitis C in a healthcare setting. Blood transfusions and organ transplants as well as tainted hospital equipment including reuse of needles,syringes, and infusion bags can transmit infection.

Are the hospitals at fault?

The victims in this case may file civil suits against the hospitals where they were infected claiming that the hospitals were negligent in hiring for failing to investigate Kwiatowski’s background.

Drug abusing medical care workers can do a lot of harm to the patients that they are charged with caring for. Just last month in nearby Kirkland, Washington, a plastic surgery patient suffered a seizure after a registered nurse substituted the Fetanyl medication the woman should have been given with a stimulant. While the patient did not become infected with hepatitis, the seizure could have been life threatening.

Contact The Farber Law Group for More Information

If you have more questions about hospital acquired infection, the experienced medical malpractice and medical negligence attorney at The Farber Law Group can help you today.

Please Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.
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holiday decorating safetyNow that Thanksgiving is over, many people are turning their thoughts to decorating their homes or businesses for the Christmas holidays.

The Farber Law Group is providing some fire and accident prevention tips so that your holidays will be safe and accident free.

Candles

Many people enjoy using candles in their homes to create a festive atmosphere but candles can cause house fires if not used properly. Be sure that when you use candles that you put them in candlesticks or burn proof trivets or holders before you light them. Be especially careful about burning candles near draperies or Christmas decorations. Candles should be extinguished before you retire to be. Never place candles where they are in the reach of young children.

Trees

You should use fresh trees or artificial trees in your home. If you use a fresh tree, be sure it is in a container where you can add water. Remove the tree from the house when it becomes dry and needles begin to fall. Be sure to properly dispose of the tree.

Electric Christmas Lights

Putting up Christmas lights should be a safe and fun practice. Unfortunately, 2,500 people are injured every year while hanging Christmas lights. The most common causes of injuries is from falling or slipping and injuries are usually relatively minor such as abrasions, broken bones and cuts. Occasionally, people have suffered serious injuries including traumatic brain injuries and injuries to the spine, pelvis and back, usually as a result of a fall.

One must be very careful in the use of ladders. Make sure the ladder is in good condition and can hold your weight. Also make sure your ladder is placed on level ground.

Outdoor Christmas light should be grounded so you should use a GFCI outlet that has a fuse that will turn the outlet off if it is overloaded. Throw away frayed wires and don’t overload extension cords.

Remember you should never hang Christmas lights on metal trees because the tree can be charged with electricity and cause and electrocution or fire.

Enjoy the holidays but be safe.
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bellevue medical malpractice attorneyAn unidentified Kirkland plastic surgery patient had a severe reaction to medication and suffered a seizure while she was about to undergo surgery after a registered nurse, Angela Huffman, apparently substituted the Fetanyl medication the young woman should have received with a stimulant.

Federal investigators are investigating Huffman and she faces multiple for stealing liquid painkillers and replacing the drug with other solutions including saline. Huffman faces losing her nursing license as well as charges in criminal court.

Huffman, who was licensed as a nurse in July of 2012, was fired from a Bellevue plastic surgery clinic in August 2012 after she was caught forging prescriptions. She then was hired to work at a Kirkland plastic surgery office where she began stealing drugs.

Over the years, we have seen a number of instances where medical professionals, including nurses, have been caught stealing medications such as narcotics from patients. Sometimes one will see a euphemism, “drug diversion” to refer to the theft of medication from patients or clinics but this euphemism does not describe the potential or actual harm to patients that can be done be stealing or adulterating drugs.

We have seen convictions of nurses from stealing drugs from patients, including one case in which a nurse was convicted of stealing morphine from a dying patient. In Colorado, a nurse, Kristen Diane Parker, 26, gave patients Hepatitis C with dirty needles after she used syringes with painkillers meant for patients for herself and then filled those same syringes with saline and injected patients.

How do nurses steal drugs?

Drug addicted nurses have several schemes which enable them to feed their addictions. In some cases, nurses will choose to work in a surgery center or in a cancer ward where narcotics are used. Often, an addicted nurse will volunteer to care for a patient who is on pain medications based on looking a their charts. They will often give the patient some other drug like Ativan, Benadryl or Vistaril instead of the narcotic and secret the narcotic for themselves. When addictive drugs like Ativan, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Xanax, Valium or Vicodin is in pill farm, they will palm the drug and drop it into a pocket to use later.
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Fifty Americans die every day in the United States due to prescription pain killer overdose. This is a major health problem and is the number one cause of injury death. In fact prescription drug overdose has overtaken car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death.

Since 1999, 16,000 Americans have died from prescription drug overdose, outnumbering the overdose deaths of heroin and cocaine.

In Washington state, the drug overdose mortality rate in 2010 was 13.1 per 100,000. To combat this problem, Washington state has the following programs in place.

To combat this problem, Washington state has the following programs in place:

  • Prescription drug monitoring program – an electronic database which tracks prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs.
  • Doctor shopping law – a practice in which a patient visits multiple doctors and/or pharmacies to obtain controlled substances. Doctor shopping laws allow for the prosecution of people who obtain multiple prescriptions from different healthcare providers.
  • Substance abuse treatment – expands Medicaid to cover substance abuse treatment and services.
  • Prescriber education – provides medical student education about the risk of prescription drug misuse.
  • Good Samaritan law – provides immunity from criminal charges or mitigating of a sentence for helping someone who is experiencing a drug overdose.
  • Support for Rescue Drug Use – provides access to and use of Naloxone which is a prescription drug that can save the lives of drug overdose victims.
  • Physical exam requirement – requires a patient to obtain a physical exam and have a genuine patient-doctor relationship prior to the obtaining a narcotic.
  • ID Requirement – requires or permits a pharmacist to ask for an identification card prior to dispensing a prescription of a controlled substance to reduce fraud.
  • Pharmacy lock-in – requires high users of controlled substances to use only one pharmacy or medical office.

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food borne illness lawyerConAgra Foods, with the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has issued a recall of Kroger of Kroger Break N’Bake 16-ounce chocolate chip cookie dough packages with a use-by-date of November 24 and a UPC code of “11110 85730” because they may contain peanut butter cup cookie dough which poses a danger to those with peanut allergies.

In Washington state, the Kroger Break N’Bake products are distributed at Fred Meyer and QFC stores.

So far, there have been no reports of illness or injury due to product.

Customers who purchased the cookie dough may return the product for a full refund.

Peanut allergy can cause a severe immune system reaction in .4-.6% of the United States population. The most severe reaction to peanut allergy is anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock) which requires immediate medical attention and can result in death.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, peanut allergy is one of the leading causes of food-related fatalities.

It is rare for a lawsuit to be filed due a peanut allergy. Most adults read food labels and avoid foods with that contain peanuts or peanut oils.

Peanut allergy among children is quite common and reactions to peanuts can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, runny nose, shortness of breath, hives, asthma or abdominal pain to the life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

People with severe peanut allergy should carry an epi-pen. In a school or daycare setting, the staff should be educated on avoiding peanuts in foods provided to children and avoiding cross contamination.

Peanut Allergy Lawsuits

There have been several peanut allergy-related lawsuits in news lately:

In Michigan, parents of a child with peanut allergies are suing their school district after they say their son was bullied because he was identified as having peanut and tree nut allergies and children blamed him for being denied treats.

United Airlines is being sued after a woman suffered a severe peanut allergy on a flight after reassuring they would accommodate her allergy.

A Chicago school child died after a Chinese Restaurant that catered a school party used peanut products even though they were warned about the child’s allergy. The family in this case filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
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