Frequently Asked Questions
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Can I file a lawsuit if my baby was born with cerebral palsy?
While it’s estimated that doctors are not responsible for 90 percent of cerebral palsy cases, doctor errors do cause 10 percent of them – or 1 in every 10 children. It’s possible that the doctor caused a brain injury during labor or delivery, and that this injury led to cerebral palsy.
A long labor or lack of oxygen during labor can paralyze the brain, causing cerebral palsy. The longer amount of time the injury occurred, the more serious the injury. A lack of oxygen for one minute is much more severe than 10 seconds without sufficient oxygen.
Doctors should be able to plan for these types of events. That’s why pregnant women seek prenatal care. Doctors have the ability to determine the size of a baby while it’s in the womb and determine if the mother will be able to give birth naturally without issues.
In addition, if the baby does unexpectedly experience distress during labor and delivery, medical staff should be monitoring the baby at all times and be ready to step in at a moment’s notice. Every second that the baby is in distress means a higher risk of experiencing cerebral palsy or other issues.
If you believe your doctor caused your baby’s cerebral palsy, contact a medical malpractice lawyer to determine your rights to compensation.
How is standard of care defined in a medical malpractice case?In medical malpractice cases, negligence is determined by whether or not your doctor met the medical standard of care. The definition of this term is not clear cut, but it refers to the care that a competent doctor in the same field would perform in the same situation. How is this determined? In medical malpractice cases, expert witnesses are often used. These witnesses are doctors who are in the same field as the doctor who allegedly caused the medical malpractice. The expert witness analyzes what the doctor did and determines what – if anything – led to the victim’s injuries. The goal of the expert witness is to show how the doctor deviated from the standard of care and how this deviation caused the doctor to breach his or her duty and lead to injuries and damages for the victim. If it can be proven that the doctor did not follow the standard of care, then he or she can be found negligent. The doctor may be forced to pay for various damages caused to the patient.
What if the driver who hit me doesn't have any insurance, or some insurance but not much?
If the driver who hit you does not have auto insurance, do not fret. You should be able to access underinsured/uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on your auto insurance policy. Most Virginia auto insurance policies require drivers to carry a comparable amount of UM/UIM coverage and liability coverage. This means that if you have $100,000 in liability coverage, you should have $100,000 in UM/UIM coverage. If the at-fault driver has auto insurance, but it is a minimal policy (Virginia law only requires a driver to carry $25,000 of coverage), you should be abe to access your UIM coverage to off-set any difference between your damages and the other driver's minimal coverage. For example, if you have $50,000 in medical bills, but the at-fault driver only has $25,000 in coverage, you can access your UIM coverage to cover the outstanding $25,000 in damages.
What is uninsured/underinsured auto insurance coverage?
Underinsured/uninsured auto coverage is, essentially, a saety net for drivers. It is coverage on your policy which directly benefits you if you are involved in a car accident that is not your fault and the negligent driver who hit you does not have auto insurance or does not have enough insurance. In this situation, you can file a claim on your own auto insurance policy for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
How much is my auto accident case worth?
Unfortunately, the answer is … it depends. The value of a case is determined by the damages in the case. Damages include the medical bills, the injuries suffered, the time lost away from work, any permanent harm from the injuries, and a number of other factors. The amount of insurance coverage also matters, because the most "valuable" case in the world in terms of damages is typically limited by the availability of auto insurance coverage. For example, if you have $100,000 in medical expenses, but only $75,000 in total available auto insurance coverage, the maximum "value" to your claim is likely $75,000.
I was in a Lowes hardware store walking down an aisle when a clerk was trying to get something down and it fell and smashed my foot causing me to have a fractured bone. What is necessary to be proven in a falling merchandise case?
This falls under a classification of what we call a business premises case and in that type case we must show that the business either knew or should have known of the dangerous condition or if it is obvious that an employee of the business created the dangerous condition, that will be sufficient to show negligence in normal circumstances. In this type of case we can also demand information on prior injury claims not only at the store where your accident happened but from other similar stores to show that there is an awareness on the business of this danger but they still stack boxes high above areas where patrons walk.
My wife purchased a vacuum cleaner a number of years ago, and when using it it suddenly burst into flames causing burns. We don't have any receipt showing the proof of purchase, do we still have a case if we could show the product was defective?
There are some tricky issues, but proof of actual purchase such as a receipt is not mandatory as long as corroborating evidence can show when the machine was purchased. Remember, as long as we know what company manufactured the vacuum we've identified the manufacturer, but it is required to know which business sold it in order to sue the retailer as well.
I was injured by a product that slashed my wrist because there was no guard across the blade. What types of legal theories does a defective product attorney use to sue a manufacturer or distributor?
The most common theories in defective product cases are breach of warranty (it can be an express warranty that was written, an oral warranty, or an implied warranty by law). Some states have another theory that is called strict liability, but not every state follows that rule so talk to one of our defective product lawyers for advice.
What is negligence with regard to a product defect, how do we go about proving negligence?
There are a couple of negligence theories in product liability/faulty product cases: Proof that the product was defective as manufactured when it left the factory (this is done by tracing the product condition back to the time it was manufactured, with no changes or significant maintenance, which can be the proof of a defect as manufactured). Or it can be shown that the manufacturer negligently failed to warn you or general consumers about a known product defect, and that the manufacturer had the ability to get the word out by letters, by Internet or other means.
What types of breach of warranty claims can be made against a manufacturer?
All states have implied warranties under state laws or the Uniform Commercial Code which state that products must be free of material defects or defects in workmanship, that products must be fit for the ordinary purposes for which they are sold, and state laws vary on whether these implied by law warranties can be waived or not, so consult with a defective product attorney with our firm. Implied warranties are in addition to any written warranty that was advertised along with the product.