Nobody likes to think that health professionals may make a medical mistake now and then, but the reality is they do, and more often and in more ways than most people think. It is a daunting thought, and should be kept in mind every time one is tempted to trust blindly in doctors and other health professionals.

However, not all potential medical dangers can be laid at the doors of those who actually administer health care, such as physicians, nurses, orderlies, emergency medical technicians, hospital administrators, and so on. Sometimes, medical negligence can be attributed to those who do not deal directly with patients.

One example is the da Vinci Surgical Robot system designed, developed, and manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, Inc. Many hospitals have invested millions to have the privilege of adding this high-tech service to its menu of offerings to patients. While it is mostly used for gynecological and urological procedures, having the space age technology available increases the prestige of the institutions that have them. However, because it is a departure from the traditional surgical techniques, the technology requires that the human operators (surgeons) are trained and have acquired a familiarity with its use.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer has neglected to provide with enough training and clinical experience to the surgeons it certifies. Ideally, a trained surgeon should be supervised when performing robotic surgery for at least 15 cases to achieve clinical proficiency. Many surgeons are trained for two days and then forced to operate unsupervised after only two supervised cases.

As a result, there have been many complaints alleging medical negligence against Intuitive for failing to provide adequate training, resulting in serious injury to patients. Some also allege that the design of the da Vinci’s surgical arms is defective causing tissue burns, while still others accuse Intuitive of making false marketing claims regarding the efficacy of the system over other methods.

Whatever the form of the medical error, health professionals, medical device manufacturers, and drug companies have a duty of care towards their patients. Failure to uphold this duty is actionable under tort law. If you or a close family member has suffered injury from medical negligence, consult with a personal injury lawyer specializing in these types of cases to find out your legal options.

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Preventing Workplace Injuries

The workplace is not a one-way street. Measures aimed at preventing workplace injuries can only be effective if both employers and employees are involved. When an employee is seriously injured at work, it not only adversely affects the ability of the worker to earn, but also impacts on the productivity of the company, which eventually trickles down to profitability. Therefore, it is in the interest of both employers and employees to promote a safe working environment.

Of course, workers’ compensation insurance, which is required for most employers in the U.S., can make it a little easier for an injured employee to recover some of the costs for loss of income and medical bills. There is also Social Security to provide permanent disability benefits for eligible workers. Employers are also free from liability for workplace injuries, although workers’ comp claims tend to increase premiums that the employers have to pay. Overall, however, it is much better to keep the worker working and the employer paying a salary.

One way that employers have used to keep workplace injuries down and worker productivity up is to due functional employment testing. This is a way for employers to ensure that eligible applicants have the skills and capability to perform the essential functions of a job prior to hiring. It is also a way for employers to find out if a workplace injury claim is authentic, and if an employee is fit to go back to work after an injury.

Functional employment testing is typically outsourced to a firm specializing in employment evaluation geared towards improving productivity, measuring functional ability and reducing injury, absenteeism, and employee turnover. This can translate to increased profitability from reduced premiums for workers’ compensation and employee health insurance, lower attrition, and better worker attendance and efficiency. Because of these improvements, it is well worth the time, effort and money to have the functional capacities evaluation program in place where appropriate.

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People believe in happily ever after even in these cynical times, and this can be a good thing. It is entirely possible to be happy and stay married with one person, but what at least 50% of people who get married don’t realize is that happily ever after is not automatic, and eventually end in divorce.

Marriage happens after the wedding, when all the dresses have been packed away and all the champagne has been drunk. When real life steps in after the honeymoon is over, many find that they are not ready to work at a relationship so that together they can overcome the many difficulties they will face as a married couple.

Difficulties can surface even when a marriage is relatively ordinary. There can be problems with money, the children, relatives, living conditions, and so on. When extraordinary events happen, such as an accident which leads to serious injury and even disability, the resulting stress in the aftermath can be overwhelming. Couples who had no problems before may find that their dynamics have changed, and gradually drift apart as feelings of guilt, rage, depression, and resentment set in.

The most common causes of divorce have to do with communication. Couples who are not on the same wavelength and make no attempt to find one they can both be in are more likely to give up, fight, complain, and cheat. When one spouse feels that he or she bears the brunt of the responsibility in the relationship, it breeds resentment if it is not constructively aired. Most people are not sensitive to the needs of others, and need to be told when there is a problem.

Unfortunately, the main problem gets overshadowed by recriminations, insults, accusations, criticisms, and arguments.
It takes a very strong relationship to overcome the strain of a life-changing event such as serious accident, and many couples fail to bounce back. An article from Raleigh’s Marshall & Taylor, PC concludes that when the situation just becomes too difficult, repairing the damage may not be possible. Sometimes, the best thing can be to get a divorce and start all over again.

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Personal injury claims against government entities are in general not allowed such as in car accidents caused by highway defects. According to the website of Spiros Law, P.C. in Danville, highway defects are particular dangerous because of the speed at which vehicles travel. This is true even if the responsible individual would have been liable if they have not been acting on behalf of the government. This is what is known as sovereign immunity, which applies to both federal and state government entities, agencies and employees whose actions or inaction were within the scope of their work.

For example, a police car may cause physical injury or property damage or both to innocent parties during a high-speed car chase. The injured parties would not be able to sue the police because the damage was caused while they were acting in their capacity as law enforcers. The best that the injured parties can do is to make a claim with their own insurance companies.

This sovereign immunity was put in place primarily to protect the general public from footing the bill for any liability claims. When a private individual successfully makes a claim against the government, the compensation will come from the state or federal coffers, which is actually money of the taxpayers.

However, there are always exceptions to the rule. It is possible for an injured party to file a lawsuit against the government if a waiver of the sovereign immunity is executed. In essence, the government may choose to allow a liability claim to be filed under specific circumstances. The federal government can do this under the Federal Tort Claims Act, and most states have similar legislation, but the liability is quite limited and requires the plaintiff to go through a strict set of procedures to establish evidence which will then determine the extent of the government’s liability, if any.

There are myriad complex issues that come up when the government is involved in a personal injury lawsuit. It would require the expertise and knowledge of a lawyer experienced in handling such cases to set it up, let alone bring it to a successful conclusion.

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