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Salem Personal Injury Law Blog

What must you prove in a medical malpractice case?

If you have suffered an injury or illness due to an Oregon health care professional's negligence, you probably know that you can sue that person for malpractice. You can also join the facility or practice that employs him or her in your lawsuit. But what must you prove in order to prevail in your suit?

Given that preventable medical errors now rank as the third leading cause of death in America, you would think that proving medical malpractice should be an easy matter. Unfortunately, however, it is not. Medical malpractice lawsuits are some of the most complicated and complex cases to try.

How common is medical misdiagnosis?

If you are like millions of other Americans, you have paid a visit to an outpatient clinic or emergency room with hopes of receiving a diagnosis as to what is ailing you. People put their trust in medical professionals to evaluate their symptoms, inspect their physical vital signs and determine what is wrong. You may be surprised to learn, however, that as many as 12 million people in the U.S. are misdiagnosed when they are seen by healthcare professionals in these settings.

These numbers were found in a study published in BMJ Quality & Safety. Researchers found that approximately one in 20 adult patients are misdiagnosed and half of those cases result in serious patient harm. Besides human error, what happens in these medical settings that makes this type of medical negligence so prevalent?

Could medical malpractice have caused my child’s Erb’s palsy?

About one in 1,000 babies are born with Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy, also called brachial plexus palsy, involves an injury to nerves in the upper arms, which disrupts the mobility of the arms. This type of injury typically occurs when there is a problem positioning a baby during childbirth. It is often associated with excessive force used in childbirth and negligence can be a factor.

What are some signs that a baby may have Erbs palsy?

Oregon crash kills delivery truck driver and passenger

Collisions with other vehicles can cause fatalities in truck accidents, but sometimes it is only the truck occupants who suffer harm as a result. Early on a recent Saturday morning, a 29-year-old delivery truck driver in Salem, Oregon, reportedly crashed his vehicle into a utility pole. Not only did he lose his life as a result of the collision, but his 17-year-old niece, who was riding with him as a passenger, died as well.

The driver and his wife had recently adopted his niece into their family, which already included three other young special-needs children. Though speed may have been a factor in the crash, the accident remains under investigation, and authorities have yet to identify a specific cause. 

The link between loud music and auto accidents

Whether someone hears their favorite song on the radio or enjoys listening to a particular soundtrack while on the road, many people enjoy listening to music behind the wheel. This can be perfectly safe, but some people get carried away and increase the chances of a crash. For example, a driver may play music very loud, which could make a collision more likely. If you were hit by a driver who was listening to loud music when they collided with you, this factor may need to be presented in court if you move ahead with a lawsuit.

On the road, loud music can increase the probability of a collision for a number of reasons. A driver may be distracted by what they are listening to, and they may cause other drivers to become distracted as well. Music, especially when it is played loud, can also affect a driver’s emotions. For example, a driver may become very excited while listening to music at an extremely high volume.

Medication errors may be more common than consumers think

Patients in Oregon rely on their health care providers including nurses, doctors and CNAs to diagnose and treat medical ailments and injuries but there are times when mistakes are made, and patients suffer the cost. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, medication errors occur close to 100,000 times each year. This is a startling statistic for many individuals who rely on the knowledge and experience of medical health professionals when it comes to medication and dosage.

Medication errors can lead to serious harmful conditions such as birth defects, disabilities, hospitalizations, life threatening situations and even death. These errors are common in several situations:

  •          When a drug is entered into the computer system
  •          When the drug is prescribed
  •          When the drug is dispensed or prepared
  •          When the drug is given to or taken by a patient

How common is substance abuse among truckers?

Driving a truck for a living can prove lonely and, in some cases, quite boring, and in some cases, this can make those who drive semi-trucks for a living more likely to engage in certain dangerous behaviors on the job. Substance abuse, in particular, is a problem that continues to plague the trucking industry and endanger all Oregon residents, with truck drivers who use alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel posing a substantial threat to all motorists.

Per the American Addiction Centers, there is a clear link between the prevalence of substance abuse in the trucking industry and the unfavorable working conditions that come with the job. Truckers often face tough assignments that require them to work long hours and stay alert for long stretches at a time, and some trucking professionals turn to amphetamines or cocaine to help them complete their tasks in a timely manner.

Underriding accidents involving trucks can be catastrophic

The results of a semi-truck and passenger vehicle collision usually involve severe injuries or death to the occupants of the passenger vehicle. The occupants of passenger vehicles are usually more vulnerable in crashes than truck drivers because of the size difference between the two vehicles. Semi-trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles and are positioned higher off the ground than other vehicles are.

One common type of crash involves a car underriding a truck. This means that the car ends up partially or completely under the truck, which can be especially hazardous for the occupants of the car.

Auto accidents and brain trauma

The physical consequences of a car crash may be immediately clear, and very serious. For example, auto accident victims may have broken bones and deep wounds that affect their ability to live life in different ways. It is also important to realize the mental consequences of a crash, and some of the unseen hardships that car accident victims face as a result of brain trauma. For example, someone may sustain a traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle wreck, which could hurt them in all sorts of ways (personality changes, depression, memory problems and so on). If you were recently involved in a car crash and you hit your head, or you are ever in a wreck that results in brain trauma, it is pivotal to carefully assess your situation immediately.

In some instances, an accident victim may have brain trauma and not even know it. They may go weeks, months or even years without realizing that their brain was injured in the collision, which can be problematic for various reasons. For example, they may have failed to hold a negligent driver responsible for all of the suffering that they will have to endure, and they might be unprepared for some of the challenges that lie ahead. Brain trauma can negatively affect someone in the workplace, in their personal relationships and in other aspects of their life.

Infidelity, divorce and the likelihood of a car crash

We have discussed some of the different factors that can lead to a motor vehicle crash. However, there are some unique situations people find themselves in which can significantly increase the odds of something going wrong on the road. For example, someone who has had an affair may be more likely to crash with another vehicle because they are worried about their partner finding out about the incident. Or, someone may be extremely upset with their partner due to infidelity, which can lead to aggressive driving, fatigue behind the wheel and other challenges. These problems can also be brought on by divorce as well.

If you ever suspect that your emotional state or any physical challenges you are struggling with (such as significant fatigue because you have been up all night) could get in the way of your driving abilities, it is extremely important to stay off the road. Sadly, some people do not take this advice, whether they are too angry or upset to care or they feel as if they have no choice because they have to get to work or take their kid to school.

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Law Offices of Brian R. Whitehead, PC
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Salem, OR 97302

Phone: 503-967-8233
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