Posts Tagged ‘Personal Injury’

Motorcycle Accidents

There is a significantly increased risk of injury or death from driving a motorcycle compared to driving an automobile. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that 80% of reported motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. For the sake of comparison, that figure for automobiles is 20%. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that motorcycle fatalities have increased 55% since 2000. Statistically, young riders appear to be at the highest risk of fatality in motorcycle accidents, with the highest risk level amongst 20-29 year olds.

Also alarming is that, according to the NHTSA, “statistics show that the percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers on our roads.” This is a significant safety concern.

There are safety measures riders can take to protects themselves, some of which are similar to the tips we provided for safe bicycling. Most important is that riders use a safe and properly fitted helmet, as required by New York law. The CDC indicates the use of a helmet decreases the chances of fatality in a motorcycle crash by 37%, and decreases the risk of head injury by 69%, which is significant. Additionally, riders should wear bright clothing to make them highly visible, and protective clothing, like a leather jacket, may also be beneficial.

If you’ve been hurt, please give us a call to talk to our knowledgeable, experienced attorneys.  At James Morris Law we always fight to achieve the best results for our clients.

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How to Work Effectively With Your Lawyer

It is important to work effectively with your lawyer so you can have a satisfying working relationship with one another. This is an excellent article about the subject, which we wanted to both share and elaborate upon.

It is a good idea to bring a copy of your own insurance documents (declaration page), when you first meet with your attorney. Your attorney’s office can also obtain this information if necessary, but as the article above mentions, the client can sometimes access this information quicker.

You should also bring with you other information your attorney may need to begin working on your file. For instance, for a personal injury matter, this may include the names and contact information for all your treating physicians, or copies of police accident reports. There are often key deadlines early on in a potential lawsuit, so the more information your attorney has on hand from the outset of your case, the better.

Keep all documentation, including letters and bills from doctors and insurance companies. Discuss with your attorney early on what types of documents they may want you to forward to their office, and be sure to do so in a timely fashion. This will help to ensure the attorney will always have up to date information in your file when they need it. Sometimes it is as simple as mailing (or e-mailing) it to the office when you receive it, or leaving it with the assistant or paralegal in charge of your file.

Keep a list of questions you would like to discuss with your attorney, as well as notes about what happened since the last time you spoke, which will help you make the most of your next appointment.

For a personal injury or medical malpractice case, it can be useful to keep a calendar documenting symptoms and keeping track of all your medical appointments.

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Valuing Your Case

As most clients will tell you, “It’s not about the money.”  A lawsuit helps people regain some sense of control at a time when they feel powerless.  An accident can destroy a person’s independence or livelihood.  So when our clients tell us that it’s not about the money, we understand what they mean.  But, ultimately, a positive result in a lawsuit does come down to a monetary value and having a ballpark figure about the value of your case can save you from making a costly mistake. Everyone knows about high profile verdicts like the one received by the woman in Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants who suffered third degree burns after spilling hot coffee on her lap. The jury awarded the plaintiff a judgment against McDonald’s for punitive damages in the amount of $2.7 million (the amount McDonalds made selling coffee in two days).  Verdicts like these tend to skew people’s expectations for settlements too high.  What people might not realize is that the judge reduced the award and McDonald’s appealed the decision.  The resulting settlement was less than $600,000.

A case’s worth is determined by several factors and I’d like to discuss them a bit here.  Please keep in mind that every case is different and that individual results will vary.

The most important determining factor in valuing a case is how much money is available either in the form of an insurance policy or a defendant’s assets.  Even if you receive a million dollar verdict at trial, if the defendant doesn’t have the money to pay you, you will not be getting a million dollars.

Another factor is the severity of your injuries and the amount of pain, suffering and expense they have caused you.  Are they permanent?  How long will you need to continue with treatment?  Generally speaking, breaking your toe is not worth as much as breaking your back.  If your injury will require future treatment, this added expense should be taken into account when discussing settlement.

A third thing to consider when valuing a case is how much income the plaintiff has lost or stands to lose.  If a highly trained neurosurgeon is left unable to return to her duties she will likely be losing more future salary than a truck driver.  This is not to say that a truck driver’s injuries are in any way less significant or disruptive than a neurosurgeon’s, it’s just something to keep in mind when you think of the value of your case.

Comparative negligence is also something to consider when valuing your case.  Did you contribute in any way to your injuries?  If a jury finds that you are 30% responsible for an accident, for instance by not looking before crossing a street, then any verdict received from them will be reduced by 30%.   A verdict of $100,000 would be reduced to $70,000. Going to trial is essentially a wild card.  A recent study of jury verdicts found the defense won 50 per cent of the time resulting in no recovery. Verdicts for the plaintiff in injury cases averaged under 30,000. This dispells the popular notion that juries commonly give million dollar verdicts. We live in a conservative area filled with working-class jurors.  They don’t hand out million dollar verdicts often.  This is a crucial fact to keep in mind when considering settlement offers.

If you’ve been hurt, please give us a call to talk to our knowledgeable, experienced attorneys.  At James Morris Law we always fight to achieve the best results for our clients.

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Cases Involving Medicare or Medicaid Are Complex

If you are on Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security Disability, it is vitally important that you inform your personal injury attorney of this fact. Unlike many other types of health insurance, these government funded plans are entitled to receive reimbursement for expenses they provided on your behalf. The process can be long and involved because it requires dealing with large bureaucracies, and it helps to get the ball rolling from day one.

Why do I have to pay?

A personal award is assumed to be compensating you for money that you have spent or will have to spend on your injuries. Theoretically, you are not supposed to be getting paid twice for the same injuries from the same accident. If Medicare has paid for your broken leg, and you then receive an award from someone’s homeowner’s insurance for those same leg injuries, you will need to reimburse Medicare for the cost of the treatment.

What if I just don’t mention that I have Medicare or Medicaid?

Medicare has started to get serious about enforcing these laws. As such, many defense attorneys will not settle without first ensuring that either there is no Medicare or Medicaid involved, or that they have been properly notified. Here is a helpful site outlining the process: MSPRC Site

Is there anything I can do?

Yes there is. By keeping your attorney informed you are allowing them to negotiate with Medicare for a lower repayment amount. Medicare often sends an initial bill that includes treatments and visits that are unrelated to the injuries in your case. Your attorney can challenge these charges. Additionally, Medicare is often willing to work with attorneys to reduce the fee by as much as a third. Don’t pay Medicare or Medicaid more than you have to. Call the Law Offices of James Morris to handle your case today.

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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

A woman involved in a low speed collision accident suffers whiplash on the day of the accident, this is a relatively mild condition that most people overcome in a few days, but her pain does not decrease, instead she develops severe burning sensations, sensitivity to hot, cold, light and even touch.   She is devastated as daily activities she took for granted like cleaning, showering and even moving her limbs become more and more difficult.  She suffers debilitating pain and is forced to take stronger and stronger medications to function.  She can no longer work and has to rely on family members to do many tasks for her.

The name for this devastating condition is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).  Symptoms vary but may include:

  • Severe burning  pain
  • Pathological changes to the skin, hair and bones (such as early osteoporosis)
  • Tissue swelling
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Muscle stiffness, weakness, or atrophy secondary to severe pain

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome can occur after relatively mild injuries such as whiplash or a sprain.   Unfortunately, the mild nature of the accident or injuries often makes getting help difficult as family, friends and even some doctors may believe the victim is putting on an act or exaggerating the symptoms.   Insurance companies use this to their advantage hiring their own doctors to cast doubt on a victim’s credibility.

At the Law Offices of James Morris we believe you.  We have seen the tragic effects CRPS can have on a person’s life and we have fought insurance companies who claim the initial injury was too mild to result in such pain.  We have made them pay for the terrible pain and suffering our clients have endured.
If you or a loved one is suffering with CRPS after an accident, I urge you to call the Law Offices of James Morris.  We will fight on your side to get you the settlement you deserve.  We have the experience, dedication and resources to help you through this difficult time.
For more information on CRPS please see the following links:

UW Health


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Top Medical Mistakes – Part #2

This is post two in a two part blog series devoted to a recent article on CNN Health, ‘10 Shocking Medical Mistakes. This post goes over shocking mistakes six through ten. The original piece ties these mistakes to real-life instances of these errors – click here to see the personal stories in slideshow form on

Today we will look at (the last) five of the most common mistakes. The first five medical mistakes can be found here on our blog – Top Medical Mistakes – Part 1.

Mistake #6 – Air bubbles in the blood – When medical staff remove a chest tube, it is important that they seal the insertion point. If not, air bubbles can get sucked into the open wound and cause a disruption in blood supply to the lungs, heart, kidneys and/or brain. Left untreated this condition can be fatal. CNN suggests, if you have a chest tube as part of medical treatment, ask medical personnel how you should be positioned when they remove your chest tube. This will increase the odds that the procedure goes smoothly.

Mistake #7 – Operating in the wrong place – This mistake happens with a patient’s chart is incorrect, is misread or is obscured in the operating room. This can lead surgeons to cut into the wrong site on the body leading to a number of potential complications. The CNN article suggests checking with your nurse and surgeon that the surgery is going to be performed on the correct site on the body.

Mistake #8 – Inadvertent Infection – Cleanliness is imperative in the operating room. When doctors and nurses don’t properly wash their hands they can spread infections to patients. This can be especially dangerous to a patient with a compromised immune system. In extreme cases patients can die from this mistake. The article suggests asking doctors and hospital personnel whether they have washed their hands prior to them treating you.

Mistake #9 – Mistaken tubes – There are a number of different tubes used in different patient treatments. If hospital personnel mixes a chest tube and a feeding tube up, there can be serious complications. Medicine meant for the stomach can end up in the chest or vice versa. CNN’s suggestion is to ask staff to trace a tube back to the source so that mix-ups are avoided.

Mistake #10 – Waking up during surgery – Anesthetic dosage is specific to each patient. An overdose can cause problems and an underdose can cause a patient to wake up during surgery. In this case the brain is often awake when the muscles remain paralyzed. The patient can feel the surgeon cutting and prodding. The article suggests discussing your anesthetic options prior to surgery. A local anesthetic may be a better option.

Medical mistakes are tragic and can cause long term problems for affected patients. If you ever find yourself a victim of one of these indiscretions contact the Law Offices of James Morris immediately. We have valuable experience in medical malpractice lawsuits, and will give you the personal support that you deserve.

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Top Medical Mistakes – Part #1

A recent article on CNN Health, ‘10 Shocking Medical Mistakes,’ goes through a number of common medical errors with personal stories to illustrate real life examples. This post is focused on the actual medical mistakes – click here to see the personal stories in slideshow form on

Today we will look at the first five of the common medical mistakes. Check back later to get Part #2 of this post containing the rest of the list.

Mistake #1 – Treating the wrong patient – Occasionally, at a busy hospital, staff fails to verify a patient’s identity. This can lead to severe complications. CNN suggests that a patient (or accompanying friends or family) verifies that hospital staff checks the entire name, date of birth and any hospital identification (wristband, etc.) of the patient before any procedure.

Mistake #2 – Surgical tools left behind – If surgical staff fails to keep track of the equipment used in an operation or procedure, it can lead to tools/equipment being left inside a patient. CNN’s suggestion is to immediately contact hospital staff if you are experiencing any unexpected pain, swelling or fever after an operation. This won’t prevent the complication, but it will help ensure that you take care of the problem as soon as possible.

Mistake #3 – Wandering patients – Patients who are disoriented, or who suffer from dementia are prone to wandering. They can find their way out of their hospital room, or the building. Once a disoriented patient is out on their own they are at risk of being trapped, lost leading to hypothermia and dehydration. CNN’s suggestion for prevention; obtain a GPS tracking bracelet, and you will always know the whereabouts of your loved one.

Mistake #4 – Imposter Doctors – Unlicensed and disreputable medical personnel lack the proper training and background to properly treat a patient’s ailments. Con-artists impersonating doctors will ‘play the part’ to make a quick buck. Their treatments often backfire. Instead of healing a patient they cause further harm. CNN recommends that a patient confirms online that their doctor is a licensed and reputable professional.

Mistake #5 – Long waits in the ER – Overcrowded emergency rooms leave injured patients to wait for long periods of time. In some cases, these extended wait times lead to more severe medical complications. To combat these wait times CNN suggests calling your personal doctor. If your condition warrants, your doctor will call ahead to the emergency room paving your way to necessary medical care.

Medical mistakes are tragic and can cause long term problems for affected patients. If you ever find yourself a victim of one of these indiscretions contact the Law Offices of James Morris immediately. We have valuable experience in medical malpractice lawsuits, and will give you the personal support that you deserve.

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Making sense of tenant injuries and landlord liability

You rent your apartment or home. One day, without warning, you slip and fall down the stairs because of a lose railing. Or maybe you hurt yourself on your snow-covered front doorstep. Or you literally break your neck falling from a ladder trying to fix something outside the landlord promised to do weeks ago. Who’s responsible? Who’s liable? Your landlord? Who will pay your medical bills? What about lost wages? What are your rights?

And what if you need accident at work compensation? Or you’re a guest at your friend’s rented apartment and you get injured? What should you do? Questions often lead to more questions in tenant injury cases.

Common household injuries cover a wide range, including head injuries and broken bones. In some cases, certain tenant injuries can be extremely severe, sometimes even resulting in someone’s accidental death.

Each state has unique liability laws. In New York, the landlord is required by law to safely maintain common areas for tenants. Landlords can often be held liable if authorities determine the landlord was negligent in maintaining the property.

Your lease could also play a big role in what happens. Some leases include liability exemption clauses. Often, an exemption clause only applies to the tenant. That is the law in New York State. That means a landlord can be held liable for injuries to a third party on the property, even if there is an exemption clause. But such laws vary in other states.

Tenant injury cases are complicated. We can help. Contact the Law Offices of James Morris today. When you chose us, you get experienced tenant injury lawyers who thoroughly understand the law and know how to aggressively fight to get you the justice you deserve.

Don’t let insurance companies or landlords push you around. Take action. Contact James Morris Law today. You have rights. We’ll fight for them.

The information contained in this communication is provided for informational purposes only and should not be constituted as legal advice on any subject matter.