The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

June 2010 Archives

Joe Jackson, the father of the deceased pop star Michael Jackson, has not surprisingly filed a lawsuit against his son's doctor Conrad Murray, alleging that the physician acted with professional negligence and tried to conceal his administration of drugs to the King of Pop after the death.

CMU News reports that the preparation for this litigation has been going on for quite a while, but that the legal papers were officially filed in Los Angeles courts last week. Personal injury attorneys have been long awaiting this lawsuit, since Conrad Murray has had pending criminal charges against him for quite some time. The doctor has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for giving Michael Jackson high levels of the drug propofol.

ER Doctors Do Excessive Testing to Avoid Malpractice Lawsuits

Just about every ER doctor in Pennsylvania probably fears the idea of a medical malpractice lawsuit. And because of his this fear, Associated Press reports that there's the trend in emergency rooms to overtest patients when they have harmless chest pains, head bumps or non-threatening stomachaches.

The problem with this trend is that testing for an unlikely illness or providing treatment for an illness that is not necessarily needed can end up being very costly for the patient. When visiting the ER, the doctor will perform tests that aren't necessary and even surgeries that may not be necessary just so the physician can avoid a potential lawsuit.

Sources of Liability in A Car Accident

More than two years after 15-year-old Lauren Schmidt died from a car accident in front of Hempstead High School in the city of Dubuque, Iowa, the family was finally able to settle their wrongful death lawsuit. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports that after the fatal accident in September 2007, the family of the victim named several parties responsible for the death in their lawsuit, including Dubuque Community School District, the bus driver involved in the accident, the city of Dubuque, and Allied Property & Casualty Insurance.

A case like this shows that after an accident, it may not just be the driver that's responsible for traffic accidents. Unsafe conditions or unsafe roadways can lead to a lawsuit against a city, or other parties. The accident in Dubuque, which took place right in front of Hempstead High School (part of the Dubuque Community School District), involved 16-year-old Codi Regan striking his classmate as the victim was crossing in front of a school bus, which partially pulled on to nearby Pennsylvania Avenue.

Fire Hazard Leads to GM Recall

It's possible that General Motors can soon be under fire with a very heated lawsuit. The New York Times reports that the motor vehicle company has already received reports of at least five fires from defective heated washer-fluid systems in certain vehicles. However, so far no injuries or crashes have been reported from the heated washer-fluid systems.

Last week, GM announced a recall of about 1.5 million cars and trucks from the 2006 to 2009 model years. The recall includes several Buick, Cadillac, Hummer, Saturn and GMC vehicles. The company says that vehicle owners affected by the recall should bring their cars into a GM center and that the company will disable the heated washer fluid system module that could lead to fires. GM will pay each affected owner $100 to compensate for the loss of the feature.

A Guide to Proving Defamation

While the U.S. Constitution guarantees us the right to say and write what we please, there are also limitations on free speech. Defamation laws simply make it so that a person cannot publish false statements that are defamatory. Since defamation is simply a tort, a person will not face criminal charges for defamation, but can instead be sued through a civil action.

A Pennsylvania personal injury attorney can handle just about any defamation case. But FindLaw states that in order to prove defamation, the lawyer must show four criteria  -- proving that a statement was published, false, injurious, and unprivileged. All four of these elements are key.

GlaxoSmithKline Settles Lawsuit Over Avandia Drug

In news that would interest a PA personal injury attorney, Reuters reports that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) settled a lawsuit set to go to court in Philadelphia on June 1 over its Avandia drug.  

As we have written about before on this blog, claims against GSK spiked after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued warnings about the safety of GSK's Avandia drug. The Avandia drug was used for the treatment of diabetes, but there are risks involved with using Avandia. The drug is currently not available on the market anymore.

Basically, there were reports that surfaced that GSK was aware of the increased risk of a heart attack when patients used Avandia  and failed to make that knowledge public. In fact, GSK apparently was aware of the cardiovascular risks for years. GSK claims that it acted properly with regards to safety and protocol of the drug. Warnings by the FDA coupled with two U.S. senators writing an inflammatory report on Avandia has increased consumer awareness. As a result, liability claims have skyrocketed.

SEPTA Transit Featured on TV Show "World's Toughest Fixes"

Philly residents all have a story about the SEPTA transit system. Well it seems that SEPTA has a story of its own to tell. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the SEPTA transit system will be featured on an episode of National Geographic Channel's "World's Toughest Fixes" on June 10, 2010.

Any PA personal injury attorney can tell you that working on SEPTA transit fixes is an often dangerous and scary job. Whether you are working with live wires, suspended 30 feet above the ground, or trying to duck away from speeding trains, SEPTA workers dodge the bullet on a daily basis. There are approximately 9,000 employees that work on 2,200 square miles of tracks.

FDA Issues Warning for Diet Drugs Alli and Xenecal

Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys are known nationwide for their massive settlements against drug companies. So they are likely sitting up and taking note on the latest issue involving drug companies.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert regarding two well known weight loss drugs, made by GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Roche Holding AG. As a result of the health risks, the two drug makers will be mandated to include warnings about the health risks, despite the fact that the risks are quite rare and remote. Specifically, the FDA has expressed concern over rare reports of liver injury, according to U.S. health officials.