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Doctors often prescribe opioid pain medications to alleviate patients’discomfort after an injury, surgery, or procedure. These medications are highly addictive and many patients have difficulty weaning themselves off these powerful drugs without outside assistance. For many patients who struggle with continued opioid use, it begins with a prescription,develops into a life-altering drug problem, and ultimately leads to death.In such cases the prescribing doctor(s) could be held liable for medical malpractice and wrongful death.

Building a Case for Negligence and Medical Malpractice

In order to successfully sue for the wrongful death of a loved one, you will have to prove that the opioid addiction and corresponding death resultedfrom medical malpractice. In other words, the court will require evidence that the prescribing doctor failed to demonstrate appropriate care for the patient, provided inappropriate or inadequate treatment, and that their negligence caused your loved one’s death.

The difficulty of proving negligence depends on the circumstances. If the person for whom a physician prescribes opioid pain medication is a recovering drug addict and does not disclose this information, the doctor is less likely to be considered negligent. However, if the doctor knew that thepatient was a current or recovering drug addict and prescribe opioids anyway, this is much more likely to be considered negligence. Medical malpractice could also be proven in cases in which the treatment was disproportion at the medical issue at hand.

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With the cold, winter months approaching, the days are getting shorter.When the sun comes up later and sets earlier, normal driving hours are growing progressively darker and more dangerous. According to the National Safety Council research, drivers’ risk of being involved in a deadly car crash triples when driving at night. That increased risk isn’tjust a matter of your own decreased capacity to safely operate a vehicle in dimly lit conditions, it’s a matter of getting on the road with other drivers who will be as impaired as you are, if not more. The top reasons for driver impairment at night include:

  • Fatigue: Lack on sunlight causes the body’s melatonin levels to rise, there by signaling the brain that it is time to sleep. Regardless of a driver’susual bedtime, darkness still creates a level of lethargy and tiredness that slows reaction time and puts drivers at risk of nodding off at the wheel.
  • Impaired Vision: Even if your eyesight is 20/20, your ability to see clearly is diminished in the dark. Vision also tends to dwindle as people age, but this doesn’t mean that only senior citizens are at risk of accidents while driving in the dark. All drivers are at an ever-increasing risk of nighttime car accidents as they age, which is why drivers of any age should have regular checkups with an optometrist to receive updated prescriptions for contacts and glasses.
  • Drunk Driving: This one has more to do with the time of day than the level of light, but the darkness certainly doesn’t help. Even if you are not driving drunk or driving while buzzed, there are people on the road who are, and your ability to identify and avoid a drunk driver is diminished in the dark.You can avoid deadly nighttime accidents involving drunk drivers by reducing your speed and maintaining greater distance between your vehicle and others’when driving at night.

Changing your schedule to avoid driving in the dark is probably not an option. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk and protect yourself from being another casualty of a deadly, nighttime accident or experiencing a serious injury. Make sure you are able to see properly on the road by checking and cleaning your headlights, wearing non-reflective glasses, maintaining clean windows and mirrors, and driving at a decreased speed.

If you have been involved in a nighttime car accident and have suffered significant personal harm, legal action could be thebest way forward. Our Greenwich personal injury lawyers at Ivey Barnum& O’Mara, LLC are ready and willing to be your advocates in court and help you obtain appropriate compensation. We are committed to helping you move forward.

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Motorcycle accidents, although not necessarily more frequent compared to other types of accidents, are more likely to result in serious injury or death. Unfortunately,collisions involving motorcycles and other vehicles account for 56 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The most common types of motorcycle-vehicle crashes include head-on collisions,cars making left-hand turns, motorcycle lane splitting, and even driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Due to the alarming statistics,it is imperative for drivers of passenger vehicles to do whatever it takes to avoid these type of accidents.

Many of these solutions will be familiar since they involve the same type of safe driving techniques which should be used every time you operate your vehicle. However, the increased vulnerability of motorcyclists makes many of these preventative measures even more pertinent in order to help save lives.

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Recent reforms to medical malpractice laws may be putting patients’safety at risk. H.R. 1215, or “Protecting Access to Health Care Act 2017,” was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in June2017. The bill affects those who receive federally subsidized health care,and prevents them from holding medical providers, nursing homes, and pharmaceutical companies accountable for any harm they have caused due to negligence.

Additionally, the bill caps non economic damages at $250,000, while forbidd ingjuries from being informed of this limitation. The bill further outlines that payouts for these cases must be made over a considerable amount of time, rather than as a lump-sum payment. This can affect the ability of patients to pay for their medical debt without accruing further debt.It also can decrease the time individuals have to discover injuries and file a claim.

H.R. 1215 obviously puts companies before patients. Patients who are harmed by negligent medical care may not be able to receive the full compensation they are entitled to for the injury they sustained. Many patient claims can be worth far more than $250,000.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Most states’ laws regarding dog attacks and bites operate under either the strict liability doctrine or the one-bite rule, which does not designate a dog as dangerous until after its first known bite/attack. New York,on the other hand, combines both these rules.

According to New York Agriculture & Markets Code section 123, the owner of a “dangerous dog” is liable if the dog causes injuries to someone else, to livestock, or to another person’s companion animal. A dangerous dog is one that attacks and either injures or kills a person, farm animal, or pet without justification, or behaves in a manner which causes a reasonable individual to believe that the dog poses a “serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death.”

Under this statute, a dog owner is “strictly liable” for all medical expenses resulting from injuries caused by a dangerous dog. So if the dog is found to be dangerous, the dog’s owner must pay theinjured party’s medical bills, even if the dog’s owner had taken reasonable precautions to control or restrain the canine.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Teens are often excited to get their driver’s licenses and learn to drive, despite their parents’ worries. Parents have every right to be worried, however, since young drivers are often at an increased risk for a car accident. Here are some of the top reasons teen drivers get into accidents.

Inexperience

Young drivers haven’t had the years and years of experience on the road that older drivers have had. Even after Driver’s Ed and several driving lessons, teen drivers still have much to learn. Additionally, their reflexes to hazardous situations may not be as practiced as an older driver. Teen drivers also are learning how to react to hazards safely and control their vehicles. Make sure your teen gets regular driving practice,and continue to drive with them after they have their driver’s license to continue building good driving habits.

Distractions

Teen drivers are still developing mentally and emotionally, and they are more prone to distractions. They’re still learning to manage all the information they are takingin while driving, and adding distractions, such as cell phones, the radio, personal grooming, eating, and passengers, can be a recipe for disaster.Encourage your teen to keep both hands on the wheel and wait for all other activities until after they are safely parked. Try to limit the number of people they can take in their car, and ask that they turn off their cell phone while behind the wheel.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Road rage has been a significant problem in New York and the rest of the country. Sometimes these incidents even lead to personal injury or property damage.

When you are a victim of road rage, you may be wondering, “Can I sue the other driver who assaulted me in a road rage incident?” If you are able to identify the individual who assaulted you, you may be able to sue the driver for any persona linjuries or property damage to your vehicle, in addition to possible criminal charges.

In New York, criminal law prohibits varying forms of assault. The most basic charge would be assault in the third degree, then it goes up to assault in the second degree, and finally first-degree assault. Third-degree assault is known as simple assault, which means causing harm to someone else with the intent to do so, no matter how the severity of the injury in question. Harmful or offensive physical contact with the individual or with something near the person would establish liability for assault.Any of these instances below may be considered sufficient grounds for the other diver to be liable for assault.

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During the summertime, waterparks are an effective and fun way to beat the heat. However, they can also leave you with serious injuries.

Whether it is a slip-and-fall accident or a drowning, injuries and illnesses can occur at waterparks. So if you do suffer an injury at a waterpark,who can potentially be to blame?

The following are the common liable parties in waterpark injuries:

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Work Injuries a Leading Cause of Death and Injury in the United States

At Ivey Barnum & O’Mara, we have served more than a few victims of workplace accidents. As a result, we are well-acquainted with the pain and suffering they can cause. That’s why we’re spending thisyear’s National Safety Month honing in on workplace injuries and helping you avoid them.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, thousands of people die in workplace accidents every year. While not every workplace injury results in death, injuries on the job can result in lost production time, lost wages, and long-term physical, emotional,and financial harm to the employee, among other painful consequences.With so much at stake, you can’t afford to take the possibility of a workplace injury lightly. In order to help you keep yourself safe on the job, we’re here to help you better understand what workplace injuries are, how they happen, and how to handle them when they do happen.

Common Types of Workplace Injuries

Most people think of work injuries only in the realm of deadly, catastrophic accidents like falling off of a ladder, chopping off a finger, or being run over by a service truck. While these do occur, the most common workplace injuries are varying degrees of cuts, sprained joints, physical pain and soreness. While these may not kill you, they can cause you a lot of suffering in the long run. These can result from any of the following:

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Posted on in Personal Injury

This summer, many people will be opting for long road trips on their vacations.If you plan on taking an extended drive this summer, make sure you’re prepared by taking these safety precautions so that you and your loved ones aren't faced with a serious car accident.

Maintenance Your Car

Upkeep whatever vehicle you will be taking on the road this summer. It’ll be hotter than normal, so you don’t want to be caught on the side of the highway in the heat. Take your car for regular oil changes, battery checks, tune-ups, and tire rotations. Also, ensure you invest in a good roadside assistance service in case your car requires a tow.

Check Your Car for Recalls

One thing your mechanic may not do if you’re not taking it to the dealership is to check for product recalls. However, you can look forany potential problems with your car by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) search tool to enter your vehicleidentification number (VIN). The website will identify any vehicle that has not been repaired as a part of a safety recall in the last 15 years.

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It’s no secret riding motorcycles is one of the most dangerous forms of transportation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclist deaths occurred 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, based on 2014 crash data. Here are some of the most common reasons bikers get into so many accidents.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is what happens when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars. While in many states, this is illegal,in other states it is a widely recognized as a standard practice. However,accidents can occur because the bike is in such close proximity to cars,which are larger and can cause more damage. Likewise, being in between two cars reduces the space motorcyclists have in which to maneuver. So,if a car starts to change lanes without realizing a bike is next to it,the rider has less room in which to avoid the oncoming car. This is mostly the result of the fact that car driver’s don’t anticipate any vehicle or motorcycle will be passing them in slowed traffic.

Speeding

Speeding on a motorcycle can cause huge problems for the biker, particularly if they experience a sudden obstacle in the road and have no way to maneuver around it. For example, blind corners should always be taken more slowly because bikers can never see if there is a patch of oil, sand, or other debris in the road that could make their bike overturn. NHTSA statistics in 2015 showed 33% of all bikers involved in fatal crashes were speeding.

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Now that the weather is warming up, more and more people will be flocking to the water to cool off during the hot summer days. At the same time, hospitals around the country will see an increase in swimming-related accidents. More alarmingly, there will also be unintentional drowning,which is the 5th leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 2005 to2014, there were more than 3,000 unintentional drownings, and around 1in 5 people were children 14 years of age and younger.

Children are, of course, some of the most vulnerable to swimming accidents.If someone leaves a gate open near a pool, a curious toddler might venture out into the yard and accidentally fall into the water. Kids are also not particularly strong swimmers, especially the younger they are. Once they fall in, if no adult is there to take them out quickly enough, they could sustain permanent brain damage or even death from lack of oxygen.

Likewise, children are also small enough to be injured by uncovered pool drain suction. There have been several incidences of children sitting over a pool drain and being disemboweled or eviscerated by the suction.One case happened as recently as 2007 when a girl named Abigail Taylor suffered a dislodged and damaged liver and pancreas; additionally, several meters of her small intestine were forcefully pulled out of her body,which later led to her death.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Car accidents can be particularly disorienting and stressful. People never expect them to happen, and when they do, they may be completely blindsided by the events. Likewise, accidents can be dangerous and can also often cause our stress responses to increase. Our heart rates intensify, and our adrenaline levels rise, which is our bodies’ ways of preparing us for danger.That same response, however, can often numb us to the situation at hand.Without thinking about it, you could find yourself apologizing to another driver involved.

While this is a natural response, it may not do you any favors in the long run. You and the other driver might not know who caused the accident. In fact, both of you might have contributed some part to it. However, if other people witnessed the events and stopped to help you, all they might be seeing is you apologizing to the other driver. If a police officer later investigates the accident,he or she may take witness statements that place you at the scene apologizing to the other driver. The other driver’s insurance company may use this as evidence you actually were at fault in the incident.

Instead of apologizing, you should ask the driver about the state of their health. Are you okay? Are you hurt? Do you need me to call an ambulance?This, in its own way, demonstrates your compassion while preventing you from admitting to fault.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017,there was a total of 999 car accident fatalities in the state New York alone. In fact, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death and injury in the United States.Part of the reason people carry car insurance is to avoid costly medical bills and car repairs in the event they do get into an auto accident.

All states require people to drive with car insurance to cover the cost of any injury and damages in case of an accident. New York is no different.If you’re caught driving without insurance in New York, it is considered a criminal offense. All New York drivers must have a policy with the following minimum coverage:

  • Property damage - $10,000 per accident
  • Basic personal injury protection - $50,000
  • Bodily injury - $25,000 per person up to $50,000 per accident
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury - $25,000 per person up to $50,000per accident

Unlike other states that only require insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist coverage, New York actually compels drivers to take out insurance in the event they get into a collision with someone uninsured.

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Real-time ridesharing is a type of service that began being offered only a few short years ago.It’s a service that arranges one-time shared rides on short notice.Typically, this carpooling uses devices such as smartphones and GPS devices to find and take rides. Two of the most popular services include Uberand Lyft, which have both been growing in popularity.

While the process seems simple enough-picking a destination, ordering a ride, paying through the app, waiting for the driver-using a businesslike Uber and Lyft to find a ride presents its own complications. For example, if you were driving your own car, you would know that you are either insured or uninsured and know how much your policy limit is in case an accident occurs.

However, when getting into the car of a complete stranger, you trust that they meet all of the following criteria:

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Posted on in Personal Injury

According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a kind of neck injury that results from a powerful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. It creates a motion like the crack of the whip. In the majority of cases, it’sthe result of a rear-end auto accident; however, it can also occur in the wake of a sports accident, physical violence, or other trauma.

Symptoms of the injury can include neck pain, stiffness, tenderness in the upper back, fatigue, and headaches. Less common symptoms include problems with concentration and memory, inability to sleep well, irritability,and ringing in the ears. Long term complications, however, can include chronic neck pain.

Normally, people who experience whiplash can expect to recover completely after a few months. In other cases, people might experience chronic pain as the result of the injury even long after the accident occurred. People rarely can predict the outcome of how whiplash will heal, but generally,chronic pain is more likely when the initial symptoms include rapid onset of pain, headaches, severe neck pain, and pain that radiates to the arms.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

In the summer of 2005, the recently married Jennifer Hagel Smith was informed her husband, George Smith, was missing. They were on their honeymoon trip,a Royal Caribbean cruise in the Aegean Sea. The night before, both Jennifer and George were enjoying themselves on the ship casino, drinking and gambling until it closed. The next morning, 16-year-old Emilie Rausch discovered a bloodstain on the lifeboat canopy. George was partying the night before with three other men, who later became suspects in the investigation.

Jennifer, too, was under suspicion for the disappearance of her husband,though she claimed to have no memory of the night before. She was found at 4:30 in the morning passed out in the hallway, a blackout that could explain her memory loss.

George’s parents brought in Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC’s Michael Jones to help them investigate the case and to see if he could provide more answers. He immediately got to work perusing the ship documents and interviewing the 4 men last seen with George. Two of them plead the 5th, one had a foggy memory of the events, and the last was serving prison time in Florida for trafficking. The man in prison, Greg Rozenberg, was the most forthcoming out of any of the suspects. All of the men claimed to have ordered room service at the time of George’s disappearance,but the timeline of the events is still suspicious. They were the ones who supposedly put him to bed before going back to one of their rooms and ordering room service. However, neighbors of George heard a loud commotion in his cabin around that time, and the ship made no record of a large room service order by the 4 suspects.

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On September 18, 1966, Valerie Percy was murdered in her parents’ home in Kenilworth, Illinois. The attack was brutal, her cause of death being a fractured skill and 14 stab wounds. She was also so badly beaten she was beyond recognition. The police ruled out burglary, as nothing was taken. They also determined her attacker knew her. The crime suggests personal investment, and the family dog didn’t bark or cause any other kind of alarm during the attack. Authorities investigated thousands of people and tracked leads across the United States with no success.No one has ever been accused of her murder.

John Q. Kelly, one of the esteemed attorneys at Ivey Barnum & O’Mara,was 13 at the time of Ms. Percy’s death. It was a case that had always puzzled him. This murder was the first recorded murder in Kenilworth,New York, and when the case was nearing its 50th anniversary, Kelly decided to investigate the case. However, all his requestsf or information were denied. In April 2016, Kelly filed a lawsuit alleging a violation of the Freedom of Information Act in Cook County Circuit Court.It was filed against various Illinois agencies for refusing to release records about the Percy murder. Mr. Kelly sued to release all records related to the 1966 investigation conducted by the Village of Kenilworth,the Illinois State Police, Cook County State’s Attorney’sOffice, the Chicago PD, and the Cook County medical examiner. Mr. Kellyfinds it odd that so little is known about such a nationally in famous case, and that he hadn’t received a single document 6 months after filing his request (unusual in a cold case).

In September of 2016, a Cook County Judge ordered the Kenilworth police chief to release a 12-page memorandum, which outlined thousands of pages of secret evidence from the case. Most of the memorandum was redacted,making it almost as useless as the forbidden records. The reason for the redaction and the reluctance to release more details is that allegedly the investigation is still active. Later in December, a judge finally ruled that the thousands of pages of police reports related to the case will remain under wraps while the crime remains active. According to the judge, the release of the documents would, “jeopardize the investigation. ”Mr. Kelly will likely appeal this decision.

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Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC’s John Q. Kelly, widely known for representing the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Natalee Holloway, was featured in a 2013 article in Greenwich Magazine discussing his experiences as one of the most “sought-after wrongful death attorneys in the land.”

At the beginning of his career, Kelly worked for the Queens District Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted major murders, rapes, and drug cases. He later decided to go into private practice and began defending the people he used to prosecute. Now, Kelly is best known for his victories in the civil trial that found O.J. Simpson liable for the 1997 deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman and for his role in the capture ofJoran van der Sloot.

A humble advocate, Kelly never forgets the weight of his cases and how important it is to provide fearless and tenacious legal representation to families in a time of crisis. “High profile, high stakes litigation is basically a blood sport,” he says, “You either win or lose,and losing’s not an option.”

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Car accidents can be traumatic for anyone. Adrenaline runs high, and you might not notice an injury until much later, after your body and your adrenal system has calmed down. Likewise, even small fender benders can cause injuries, such as whiplash, which may not manifest until much later. If the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, what do you do if you don’t discover an injury until much later?

The first thing you should do is see a doctor for treatment. Even if you don’t notice until much later, you need to take care of the problem as soon as you become aware of it. Taking action to solve your medical problem might be the evidence an insurance company needs to prove you’re not just faking an injury to get paid. Doctor’s don’t treat symptoms that aren’t there. If you’re getting treatment, such as physical therapy or medication, this will be helpful in a court oflaw to prove you sought help as soon as you realized you had a problem.

If you try and file a claim, any insurance company will investigate why you had such a long delay between your accident and your treatment. Make sure to explain to your doctor that you were injured in an accident, and he or she may give testimony that some injuries don’t manifest right away. However, if an insurance company denies your claim on the basis that your injury wasn’t severe enough to require immediate treatment,you may need to hire an experienced Greenwich personal injury attorney.

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