Portland, Oregon Injury Attorney Blog

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  • Toys Hurt Children More Often Than You Think
    April 08 2015

    A growing percentage of children suffer significant injuries at the hands of their favorite toys, according to the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP).

    Based on a study by the CIRP, a child is treated in an emergency room in the United States every three minutes for a toy related injury.  The biggest risk for young children is choking on small toys or small parts of larger toys.  As children get older, injuries or more likely to calm from riding toys like foot powered scooters, tricycles and wagons.

    According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2013, there were an estimated 256,700 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments.

    When a child is injured, any number of things could have cause the injury: carelessness, negligence, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When the injury is the result of a defective product, then your next feeling is likely anger, frustrations and a vigilant pledge to get even with the company that allowed a defective product to go unchecked, ultimately inflicting harm upon your child.

    Dealing with a defective product—known as a products liability case—can be complicated.  In addition, you’ll want to ask yourself some questions:

    • How do you determine whether the accident was the result of defective equipment?
    • Do state or federal laws protect me and my child?
    • How can I objectively evaluate the cause of injury?

    If you are considering legal action because of an injury, it is imperative that you retain possession of the toy:  do not give it to the manufacturer.  You should consult with a lawyer before sending anything to the manufacturer.

    One of the most important questions you should ask yourself early on is whether you need a lawyer.  Getting answers to the above questions, and any other questions you may have, can help save you time and money.  A competent lawyer can help you tease out the nuances of your particular case.  I offer free consultations for families of child injury victims, and I am happy to give you the guidance you may need.

  • Informed Consent and Medical Malpractice Cases #2
    April 01 2015

    For several weeks during August 2009, my good friend Larry Baron and I tried a medical negligence case in Jackson County, Oregon.  Our client, Mrs. Warren, had gone in for an elective eye surgery; our claim was the doctor was negligent because she was never a candidate for the surgery.  The doctor never should have operated on our client.

    At trial, the doctor wanted to tell the jury that our client had signed consent forms and, therefore, she accepted the risk of a bad outcome.  The trial judge said such evidence was improper.  In reality, defendants always say this, mostly to confuse the jury into thinking that patients accept certain “risks” when they have surgery.  What they want is a free pass even if the bad outcome is caused by the doctor’s own negligence.

    It seems that in every medical negligence case the doctor and the lawyer try to confuse the jury by bringing in the consent forms.  Such forms are irrelevant in a medical negligence case.  The patient never consents to the risk of negligently performed treatment.  Rather, the patient merely consents to the risks of a properly performed procedure. 

    The jury agreed with us and awarded our client damages.  The doctor appealed.  In 2012, the Oregon Court of Appeals agreed with us and the jury verdict was upheld.  Mrs. Warren eventually obtained justice from her case. 

    You might ask, isn’t this “old” news?  Yes and no. I did blog on this particular case back on March 10th.  However, on March 25, 2015 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court relied upon our Warren case in the case of Brady v. Urbas.  In that case, the Pennsylvania Court said:

    The fact that a patient may have agreed to a procedure in light of the known risks does not make it more or less probable that the physician was negligent in either considering the patient an appropriate candidate for the operation or in performing it in the post-consent timeframe. Put differently, there is no assumption-of-the-risk defense available to a defendant physician which would vitiate his duty to provide treatment according to the ordinary standard of care. The patient’s actual, affirmative consent, therefore, is irrelevant to the question of negligence.

    And in reality this simply makes sense.  If you are negligent, you cannot avoid responsibility for the harms you cause by claiming the victim knew there were risks.  To do so would be similar to allowing a driver who runs a red light avoiding responsibility for injury by claiming the person he broadsided should have “assumed the risk” that someone else would break the law.  Simply put, the law does not operate that way.

    By signing an informed consent form, you have not given up your rights if you are harmed by negligent conduct.

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Gregory Zeuthen is dedicated to gathering the facts, protecting your interests and recovering the compensation you deserve. Call today at 503-227-7257 or fill out the form for immediate assistance.