Preserving Evidence for a Personal Injury Claim

The first few days after an accident are crucial for documenting any injuries and preserving any evidence in support of your claim.

Our Missouri personal injury lawyer will share some tips on the evidence that you must find and preserve for your personal injury claim.

Physical Evidence

Sometimes a piece of physical evidence can show what happened or who was at fault. The dent in the car can show where it was hit and the extent of damage can show how bad the collision was. Bloodied clothing can show how serious the injuries were. Any physical evidence that can help prove your claim should be photographed and preserved in the first few days after the accident.

Police Reports

After any car accident, it is important to inform the police. The police report is a crucial piece of evidence that can help establish liability. However, police reports are normally inadmissible in court.

Photographs

If you cannot preserve a piece of evidence in its original state, it is important that you photograph it. Make sure you choose a good quality camera and take the photos in accurate light conditions so as to show greater details. Your cell phone cameras can come in handy when you need to take the photos right at the scene of accident. Make sure you take a number of photographs from various different angles and then select the ones that show the details most clearly. Take the photos as soon as possible after the accident as that will accurately depict the condition of the evidence.

Write short notes on the photos describing the event, details, and the date and time when they were taken. If the injury or accident occurred at a public place, take photographs of the site, and if someone denies permission to photograph the site, note down the details of the person and the reason why permission was denied.

Returning to the Scene

Return to the scene of the accident after you have received medical attention. Find any evidence that might be of help and take photographs of the conditions that you think may have contributed to the injury. You might notice some things such as a pot hole or a broken traffic light that may have contributed to the accident.

You may also come across people who witnessed the accident and they may be willing to testify. Gather contact details of the eye witnesses and note down their narration of events. If possible, take photographs on the same day of the week and at the same time at which the accident occurred. This will most accurately depict the traffic conditions.

Evidence of Injuries

Photographs of injuries can help establish the extent of your damages. Any burns, bruising, and lacerations can describe your pain and agony. Medical records are the most important piece of evidence when it comes to personal injury claims. The details of your medical treatment would also be a key piece of evidence.

If you have suffered injury because of someone else’s negligence, consult a Missouri personal injury lawyer from Zevan and Davidson Law Firm, LLC. Call us at (314) 588-7200 for a free consultation.

General Rules of Proving Fault in Personal Injury Accidents

It is often not easy to determine liability in accidents caused by the negligence or carelessness of someone else.

Accidents are often caused by the negligence or carelessness of someone else, and it is often not easy to determine liability in these cases. Even though it is easy to point fingers at a person or company, it is necessary to determine the legal liability whenever someone is injured in an accident.

Determining Legal Responsibility For Accidents

A large number of accidents result from the carelessness of another individual. The general rule is that any person who was careless or reckless in an accident should be held liable for the damages incurred by the person who was more careful in the situation.

A Missouri Personal Injury lawyer will help explain that the legal responsibility for nearly all accidents is based on the rule of carelessness, along with at least one of the following:

  • Whenever an injured person was at a place where he or she should not have been in the first place, or where some activities that resulted in the accident occurred, the person who caused the accident cannot be held liable since he or she was not duty-bound to act carefully toward the person who was injured.
  • Whenever the injured person was not careful, the compensation he or she can receive is lowered based on the level of carelessness that resulted in the accident. This situation is also called comparative negligence.
  • Whenever the person responsible for the accident was working for a company or individual, the employer can be held legally liable for the accident
  • Whenever the accident resulted from a poorly-maintained or poorly-constructed property, the property owner can be held legally responsible for not conducting adequate maintenance for the properly. It does not matter whether the owner was directly responsible for the dangerous situation.
  • Whenever the accident resulted from the use of a defective item, the seller and manufacturer of the item can be held liable even though the injured individual may have no idea as to whose careless action resulted in the defect on the item.

When At Least Two People Are Legally Responsible

Whenever an accident is caused by at least two people, like a number of drivers responsible for a car accident, many state laws indicate that any of the careless individuals may be held liable in providing compensation for the injuries suffered by an individual. The parties responsible should determine who will provide more reimbursement for the injury.

This rule normally works to benefit of the injured person. When the person liable is insured while the others are not, the full amount of the claim may be filed against the person who has insurance. Even though at least two people have insurance, it will be necessary to file a claim against only one insurance company. However, it will be necessary for the injured person to take into account everyone who may be considered responsible for the accident.

St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyers

GET IMMEDIATE HELP!  If you feel that you or someone you love has a personal injury case, contact the St. Louis personal injury lawyers of Zevan and Davidson Law Firm today. Schedule a free consultation by calling (314) 588-7200.

The Risks of Preeclampsia to Mother and Child

Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition. Prenatal care is essential for a correct diagnosis and management of preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia

Pregnancy is an exhilarating period in the life of a woman and the entire family prepares and looks forward to the birth of the baby. However, it is also essential to be aware of issues that may affect pregnancy, including diseases that may result in birth-related injuries to the mother or baby.

What is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a health problem affecting pregnant women who develop high blood pressure. A number of babies and mothers are affected by this medical condition every year, as indicated by the Preeclampsia Foundation. Preeclampsia can endanger the life of the baby and mother. The disease is especially risky since many of its symptoms are similar to ones accompanying healthy pregnancies. Among the symptoms identified by the Preeclampsia Foundation are:

  • edema
  • lower back aches
  • unexpected weight gain
  • vision issues
  • hypertension
  • swelling of the feet
  • abrupt increases in weight

The Importance of Prenatal Care

Many of these symptoms are experienced by healthy pregnant women as well. Because of this, an expectant mother would not immediately become aware of the potential risk she is facing. The only way to identify and control the condition is through regular visits to an obstetrician, who can measure and monitor blood pressure and protein levels. Detecting and controlling preeclampsia early on is possible through adequate prenatal care.

What Is HELLP Syndrome?

Around 15 percent of preeclampsia cases develop into a severe medical condition known as Hemplysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, Low Platelets Count Syndrome or HELLP. This serious medical condition normally emerges when the woman reaches her 37th week of pregnancy. A number of potential symptoms associated with HELLP are:

  • migraines
  • convulsions
  • vision problems
  • retention of fluids
  • continuous bleeding
  • queasiness and nausea
  • aches along the upper right portion of the abdomen

A CT scan is performed by doctors to diagnose this medical condition. The CT scan is necessary to check for any bleeding in the liver of the mother. An ultrasound and fetal non-stress evaluation can also be performed to determine any potential risks to the fetus.

Treatment of Preeclampsia and HELLP

There are a number of treatments available for diagnosing preeclampsia and HELLP. Medication for high blood pressure is prescribed along with restrictions to the diet to manage complications. In serious cases, bed rest may be recommended for mothers until delivery. Corticosteroid can be administered to prepare the fetus for premature delivery, which may be required in some cases. An earlier diagnosis gives the doctor an opportunity to manage the condition and prevent injury or death.

Misdiagnosing the Condition

Overlooking preeclampsia and HELLP may have a catastrophic effect on the baby and mother. A premature birth may affect the health of the baby and cause serious birth-related injuries. The mother may suffer unnecessary bleeding while giving birth. Other complications associated with these medical conditions include kidney failure and the build-up of fluid in the lungs. The National Institute of Health has indicated that a common result of misdiagnosis of preeclampsia is the separation of the placenta from the walls of the uterus, which may have an adverse affect on the fetus and can endanger its life.

If your doctor failed to diagnose your preeclampsia or HELLP Syndrome correctly, and it caused serious injuries to you or your child, consult a Missouri birth injury lawyer to understand your legal options. Call Zevan and Davidson Law Firm, LLC at (314) 588-7200 for a free consultation.

Understanding Missouri Personal Injury Law

If you have been hurt by the negligence or intentional act of another, you have the legal right to compensation for your injuries.

personal injury

Personal injury law is based on the premise that an innocent victim should be compensated if he or she has been hurt as the result of the negligence of another person or because of a defectively made product. Personal injury lawsuits cover a wide variety of negligence by individuals, manufacturers, and property owners. It is essential to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. The following post discusses key laws and statutory rules of personal injury law to help you better understand your legal rights.

Statue of Limitations

Missouri has a statute of limitations that affects the time you have to file a lawsuit after an injury. In Missouri, you have five years to file a personal injury claim. If you do not file the lawsuit within five years, the court may not hear your case at all.

Determining Fault in Missouri Personal Injury Cases

Missouri has a comparative fault rule that applies to specific cases in which even the injured person may be found to share a part of the fault for the accident. The law reduces the amount of compensation that the injured person receives by the amount equal to the injured person’s percentage of fault.

For example, you are hit from behind while you are sitting at a red light, and at the time of the accident, one of your tail lights was not operational. It is decided that you were 20 percent at-fault for the accident and the total damages equal $5,000. Under the comparative fault rule, you will receive only $4,000 as damages from the party at-fault, because the total damages would be reduced by 20 percent. Missouri follows a “pure” comparative fault rule, which means you will be allowed to collect 1 percent of the damages, even if you were assigned 99 percent of the fault.

Caps on Personal Injury Damages

In some states, there are laws that limit or cap damages in personal injury cases. The limits vary across states, but in most states, the caps include limits on pain and suffering damages and medical malpractice cases. Missouri has no such caps on damages in personal injury cases. The state had enacted caps on medical malpractice damages in 2005. However, the Supreme Court lifted these caps in 2012.

Strict Liability for Dog Attacks and Bite Cases

Many states protect dog owners to some degree from liability the first time their dog bits, attacks, or injures someone if there was no reason to believe that the dog was dangerous. This is commonly referred to as the “one-bite rule”. In Missouri, there is a statute in place that holds a dog owner strictly liable, irrespective of the dog’s past behavior. In other words, a dog owner would have to pay damages to the injured person even if it was the first occurrence and whether or not the owner was aware of the dog’s viciousness.

Personal Injury Claims Against the Government

Injury claims involving negligence of a government employee or agency follow different rules than those in other personal injury cases. In Missouri, an injury claim against a government employee or agency must be filed within 90 days.

If you have suffered injury as a result of another person’s negligence, consult with Zevan and Davidson Law Firm, LLC at (314) 588-7200 to learn more about your legal rights and your claim for fair compensation.

A Guide to the Basics of Medical Malpractice

It is not easy to prove that a doctor has committed medical malpractice.

surgical malpractice

You need to do much more than just prove that your doctor made a mistake. The services of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer would be crucial to the success of your claim. In this post, we will take you through the basic of Missouri medical malpractice.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a division of personal injury law, which compensates people who are injured as a result of another person or party’s negligence or deliberate actions. Medical malpractice is a subset of personal injury law that deals specifically with people who have been injured as a result of a mistake by a doctor, nurse, hospital, pharmacist, or any other medical professional.

Proving Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice claims can be difficult to prove as there is no clear definition of what constitutes an error. A medical error is believed to have occurred when a doctor fails to offer treatment that meets the “standard of care”. The victim would need to prove two basic facts to succeed in a medical malpractice lawsuit:

  • The doctor or medical professional committed a mistake while providing treatment.
  • The doctor’s mistake caused him or her an injury.

Who Determines the “Standard of Care”?

To decide on cases of medical malpractice, a jury considers testimony by medical experts, who testify whether or not they believe the doctor’s actions followed the “standard of care”. For example, to decide whether an oncologist was negligent, a jury would rely on testimony from medical experts to determine what another similarly qualified, competent oncologist would have done under similar circumstances.

Working With a St. Louis Medical Malpractice Attorney

Many medical malpractice lawyers charge on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee is a certain percentage of the amount received as a settlement in a medical malpractice lawsuit. A victim of medical malpractice who files a lawsuit would also need to reimburse the lawyer for any expenses incurred in the course of preparing and litigating the case. The benefit of a contingency fee is that you pay the attorney only if you succeed in you claim.

If you think you have been injured as a result of medical negligence, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Consult a competent St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible, because there is a statute of limitations that sets a limit on the time in which you can file a claim. Call Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200 for a free consultation.

Surgical Errors and Medical Malpractice

Many surgical errors are the result of a doctor’s incompetence; however, some errors are caused by several other factors.

surgery error lawyers

Surgical errors are considered as medical malpractice if the surgical treatment provided by the surgeon does not meet accepted standards of care when compared to a reasonably competent physician engaged in similar surgical procedure under a similar situation. Malpractice attorneys inform us that a victim can file a lawsuit in case he or she has suffered injury as a result of surgical error. A large number of patients are affected by surgical errors each year. Research by the Institute of Medicine in 1999 revealed that medical mistakes affect between 44,000 and 98,000 individuals every year.

Kinds of Surgical Errors

Surgical errors may involve:

  • Performing surgical procedures on the wrong area.
  • Inaccurate cuts.
  • Forgetting medical instruments inside patients.
  • Wrong patient operations.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Anesthesiology mistakes.

Since all surgical procedures involve a certain level of risk, such as cardiac arrest or seizures, patients are asked to sign written consent forms informing them of possible risks involved in these procedures.

Reasons for Surgical Errors

Doctors and medical personnel normally adhere to certain guidelines before, during, and at the end of a surgery. Even with these standard procedures, mistakes may happen due to the following factors:

  • Insufficient preoperative planning – Medical personnel should take note of the medical history of the patient, including allergies to any certain medications, and assess the risk of specific procedures to the patient.
  • Lack of communication – Medical personnel may not accurately identify the patient or site for the surgical procedure. The surgeon may receive wrong information about the possible complications during the surgery, wrongly interpret the dosage for the patient, or the allergic reactions of the patient to certain medications. All surgical tools used during the surgery should be counted after the procedure to ensure that none of the tools are left inside the body of the patient.
  • Exhaustion or inebriation – Surgeons and medical personnel work for long periods of time and some of them may even take drugs or medications to remain alert. This affects the judgment of the surgeon and medical personnel.
  • Negligence – When instruments are not sterilized properly or substandard surgical tools are used, it may result in septic shock or infection.
  • Incompetence – Although surgeons go through extensive training, they may not acquire the necessary expertise and capabilities to perform surgeries that meet acceptable standards of care.

St. Louis Medical Malpractice Attorney

Unfortunately, surgical errors are a common occurrence. These errors may cause serious injuries and even result in the death of a patient. If you or someone you love has suffered injury resulting from a surgical error, contact Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200.

Staph Infections Resulting From Medical Negligence

Post-operative staph infections are fairly common; however, when a staph infection is the result of medical negligence, the medical providers involved may be held liable.

st louis medical malpractice lawyersA patient may contract a staph infection after a surgery, and based on the circumstances that led up to it, it may be considered as a basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Although it is not easy to prove that a staph infection resulted from medical negligence, there numerous cases when health care providers failed to diagnose and treat the infection properly after a surgery. If you believe you contracted a post-operative staph infection due to medical negligence, contact a medical malpractice attorney.

Staph Infections Not Always Caused By Medical Negligence

Anyone who has gone through surgery should be aware that they can contract certain post-operative infections. Each time a foreign object enters the body and each time the skin is wounded, the danger of an infection developing is always increased. Medical facilities and professionals are required to inform patients of possible dangers associated with surgery. Doctors normally will obtain consent forms and other documents signed from the patient prior to the surgery.

One such document that may be signed by a patient prior to surgery indicates that the patient is aware of possible infection risks associated with surgery, and the patient cannot hold the medical provider liable for typical post-operative infections. Hospitals are full of bacteria and viruses, and staph infections may affect a patient after a procedure. Staph bacteria are nearly always found inside a hospital. Staph infections may occur regardless of the care provided by medical professionals. Patients may have little legal remedy in these situations.

Medical Negligence Can Result In Post-Operative Staph Infections

Although staph infections may happen naturally, there are instances when medical negligence causes staph infections. Medical providers can be held liable for post-operative staph infections if medical negligence is proven. Staph infections can be avoided with regular cleaning of the wounds and incision sites. The healing area should also be disinfected properly to prevent staph infections.

If the medical provider does not clean the wound properly, or if the room is not cleaned and disinfected regularly, a damage claim may be filed using medical negligence as the basis. Although patients are not guaranteed legal victory in these cases, it may be enough to force the health care provider to make an offer for an out-of-court settlement.

Missed Diagnosis of Staph Infections

If a patient comes back to the doctor complaining of pain in incision area following a surgery, the doctor should rule out staph infection as the reason for the pain. When staph infection is not tested, ruled out, or treated by the doctor, a medical negligence lawsuit may be filed. Doctors are required to follow the medical standard of care in all surgical procedures and post-operative treatment. When the doctor dismisses or misdiagnoses staph infections following a surgery, it may make the doctor liable for possible medical negligence.

It is essential to provide proof that the negligent actions of the doctor resulted in injuries following a surgery. You will need the services of a highly competent St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer to prove your case. Call Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200 for a free consultation.