Ron Miller is an attorney who focuses on serious injury and wrongful death cases involving motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, and products and premises liability. If you are looking for a Maryland personal injury attorney for your case, call him today at 800-553-8082.

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Our attorneys see a lot of parents calling us believing their child was harmed by chorioamnionitis who are trying to find out if they have a birth injury claim.  Chorioamnionitis is a bacterial infection of the fetal membrane and amniotic fluid during pregnancy.  A chorioamnionitis infection occurs when vaginal bacteria transfer into the uterus and spread.  Chorioamnionitis occurs in approximately 2% of all childbirths in the U.S.  It can have a number of adverse effects during pregnancy. A chorioamnionitis infection can block or limit the mother’s ability to pass nutrients to the baby.

If chorioamnionitis is not properly diagnosed and addressed the infection can also spread to the baby resulting in permanent long-term birth injuries such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cerebral palsy.  How does it cause a brain injury?   Chorioamnionitis causes an inflammatory response of cytokines that targets specifically the periventricular white matter in the premature infant, causing periventricular leukomalacia or PVL. The periventricular white matter is particularly sensitive to damage.  It is also important to remember that chorioamnionitis is known to cause utero placental insufficiency and to compromise the ability of the placenta to oxygenate the fetus.  Most birthing process brain injuries involve oxygen deprivation.

Chorioamnionitis can also cause premature labor and delivery which can lead to a host of complications for the mother and child.

June 2018 Update:  Abilify lawsuits may be very close to a settlement.  There were three cases set to go to trial in the federal MDL.  They are settled.  These cases may settle very soon.  If you have not already brought a claim, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

What is Requip?

facepalm-199x300Ropinirole, marketed under the name Requip, is a dopamine agonist.  The drug stimulates dopamine receptors and mimics the action of dopamine in the brain.   In 1995, GSK sought to submitted get Requip approved to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.  The FDA approved ropinirole for marketing and distribution for treating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in 1997.

Last week in Lamalfa v. Hearn, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that medical records could be admitted over hearsay objections when the records are relied on by an expert witness and the records satisfy 4 conditions of Maryland Rule 5-703(b).

Facts of Lamalfa

The Plaintiff, Ms. Lamalfa, was injured in a car accident and sued the at-fault driver.  She claimed that she suffered 3 different injuries as a result of the accident: (1) whiplash injuries to her back and neck; (2) torn rotator-cuff injury to her right shoulder; and (3) abdominal hernia injury.

Most of my blogs posts are directed at Maryland nursing home lawyers and other plaintiffs’ lawyers. This blog post is directed to Maryland victims of nursing home neglect and abuse.  They want to know if they can sue, who they can sue, what is going to happen, and what likely outcome of the case might be.

Can I sue a nursing home?

Yes.  Nursing homes and other elder care facilities can be sued just like any hospital, doctor or other healhcare provider. In fact, lawsuits against nursing homes are very common and frequently settled out of court. I’ll talk to you more about this below.  But for now, if you fear is that you are afraid of going to trial in a nursing home case, that is a statistically very unlikely outcome.  I know of two nursing home trials that have gone to trial in last 7 or 8 years and scores of nursing home cases are filed every year.  More on that later.  But for now, if you stress level in suing a nursing home is going to trial, I think that stress is misplaced.

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or health care professional injures a patient with negligent or inappropriate medical care.  The consequences of medical malpractice can be very serious. If an accountant or other professional provides negligent services it typically just costs you money.   Negligent medical care by doctors, however, can result in permanent physical injuries and sometimes death.  In many cases, the harm caused by medical malpractice can never be undone.  Instead, our legal system offers victims of medical malpractice financial compensation.

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim in Maryland

Doctors and hospitals are not in the habit of admitting that they committed malpractice.  If you want financial compensation for injuries caused by medical malpractice you will need to show that you are legally entitled to it.  To have a valid claim for medical malpractice you need to be able to prove 2 things:

In Duckett-Murray v. Encompass Ins. Co. of Am., Encompass did is best effort to try to refuse coverage when its insured need it after thirty years of receiving premiums from its insured.

This has to be the least shocking development since Kim Kardashian’s last divorce.  Listen, unlike a lot of lawyers, I understand when insurance companies fight like crazy in third party claims where the claimant is not their client. But this is a case where the family had been paying premiums for almost 30 years.  When an insurance company loses an appellate case on coverage involving their own insured, they should be ashamed of themselves.  Sure, you can argue it is a close call.  But don’t you want to err in favor of your own client?

Thankfully, the Court of Special Appeals ruled for the victim.  The key take-home lesson here is if there is any question about an umbrella or uninsured coverage, turn over every last stone. Because there is a real good chance you are going to find a path to move coverage.

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A nice family came in last week with a beautiful little girl who had shoulder dystocia.  Did she have a viable birth injury case?  She has a significant injury if it is permanent and there is a strong reason to suspect malpractice.  The child is so young there is still reason to be hopeful her body will mend itself.

There are a lot of crazy paradoxes with this job, so much so that I’m used to it.  But in cases like this, we are hoping it not a case because that would mean the child got better.

Anyway, this gave me the idea to write a blog post explaining these injuries and how to know, if you are a lawyer or a parent,  if you may have a viable birth injury case.

shutterstock_114060499-300x200Our plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers frequently receive calls from defendants who have been involved in auto accidents who do not understand why they are being sued by an insurance company as a result of an auto accident they had that was not their fault.

Most people involved in an auto accident in Maryland do not realize that if they do not have auto insurance and the accident is their fault, the other party’s insurance company can sue them for the money it paid out in property damage. Many of these callers are surprised when, years later, they receive suit papers for an auto or truck accident in which no one sustained a personal injury, yet they are being sued for thousands of dollars, either for property damage or for medical bills paid by an insurance company.   The insurance company is exercising its right to subrogation, which literally means the insurance company is substituting itself for the actual party involved in the auto accident and collecting the money for the damage done to that individual’s property (for which they have already paid pursuant to their insurance contract with that person).

How is his possible?  The insurance company is exercising its right to subrogation, which literally means the insurance company is substituting itself for the actual party involved in the auto accident and collecting the money for the damage done to that individual’s property (for which they have already paid pursuant to their insurance contract with that person).

In 2011, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson introduced Xarelto as a new generation anticoagulant (blood thinner) medication for use in preventing blood clots in atrial fibrillation patients and after knee or hip replacement surgery.

What made Xarelto special was that it was a once-a-day pill that would not require constant blood monitoring like traditional anticoagulant meds (such as warfarin).  The problem with Xarelto was that it caused excessive bleeding and, unlike other blood thinners, there was no available antidote or reversal agent to stop excessive bleeding caused by Xarelto.

As a result, many people who were taking Xarelto experienced excessive bleeding or internal hemorrhaging that could not be easily stopped. This fundamental problem with Xarelto eventually resulted in a mass of product liability lawsuits alleging that the drug makers failed to adequately warn about Xarelto’s risk of uncontrollable bleeding.  There are currently over 21,000 Xarelto lawsuits pending in federal and state courts.

I’ve been waiting patiently for the first tort opinion of 2018.  I’ve muscled through the attorney grievance opinions and criminal cases for 19 days until I finally got one: Davis v. Frostburg Facility Operations LLC. This nursing home fall case is a cautionary tale for lawyers who step outside of their practice areas.

The issue in Davis is the distinction between ordinary negligence claims and professional malpractice claims.  In most cases, you know whether you have a malpractice case or you don’t. You trip and fall on a slippery floor in a hospital; that is not malpractice. The doctor operates on the wrong leg; that is malpractice.  The question is what do you do when it does not feel like malpractice, but you fear a court might see it differently.

The answer is simple.  Just file suit under the Health Claims Act.  It can’t hurt.  But many Maryland lawyers — usually those that have not felt the weight of the nuances and technicalities of the HCA on their shoulders — choose a different path.

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