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Pedestrian-228x300Car accidents can cause serious injuries, but when an automobile strikes a pedestrian, it is almost always catastrophic. Even when the vehicle is traveling at a slow rate of speed, it can cause life-altering injuries when it strikes a human being. The average midsized sedan weighs about 3,300 pounds, or a little over one-and-a-half tons (in case you’re wondering why trucks are categorized as “half-ton” or “one-ton” trucks when the average sedan weighs more than one-and-a-half tons, the truck category is referring to its payload capacity). A fundamental principle of physics is that the heavier an object is and the faster it is traveling, the more violent the impact will be when it collides with another object. This is why a pedestrian accidents are so devastating. Who pays for the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering of the injured pedestrian?

The answer to this question requires first determining who was at fault for the accident. In legal terms, the pedestrian seeking compensation must establish the ‘liability’ of the driver. The question of liability is usually first evaluated by the law enforcement personnel responding to the accident—however, their conclusions are not final.

When a pedestrian is severely injured by an automobile, the local police department, sheriff’s department, or highway patrol will prepare an accident report. Someone from the responding agency will interview the parties involved, to the extent they are able to answer questions, as well as any witnesses. They will also retrieve any video footage of the accident, which is not uncommon, given the ubiquitous nature of close circuit security recordings. An experienced investigator will survey the area for any cameras that happen to capture the area where the accident happened, as well as the surrounding areas. Even if there is no footage of the vehicle striking the pedestrian, there may be video from a block or two away showing unsafe speeds or other erratic or dangerous behavior.

Soldier-200x300On July 28, 2020, a Florida federal court ruling breached the central defense against claims certain military earplugs were defective, damaging the ear and causing hearing loss. The lawsuits claim the earplugs were improperly designed, and did not completely block loud noises common to the military, such as gunfire and or the operation of heavy machinery or vehicles. Neumann Law Group has previously written about the earplug litigation, and you can read that article here.

The defendant, 3M, attempted to invoke the ‘government contractor defense,” a doctrine that would relieve it of any liability even if it were proven to have produced and sold a defective product to the military. The Supreme Court articulated the government contractor defense in Boyle v. United Technologies Corporation, 487 US 500 (1988), which involved a wrongful death complaint made against a company that produced military helicopters—the plaintiff alleged the escape system in the helicopter was poorly designed, causing the death of a pilot.

The jury in Boyle found that the manufacturer was in fact negligent when it designed the helicopter, but the Supreme Court would eventually uphold an appellate reversal of the verdict. It outlined the strong federal interest in military equipment and concluded those interests outweighed any state law claims, but only when the federal government gave reasonably precise specifications for the equipment, the equipment conformed to the specifications, and the supplier warned the federal government of the danger involved in using the equipment to the best of its knowledge.

lady-justice-statue-wallpapers-1024x768-1-300x225Neumann Law Group believes in justice, not only for our clients and the communities we serve, but for anyone, anywhere. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was brutally murdered by a police officer while a crowd of bystanders begged him to stop. Three fellow officers stood by idly, while a frightened human being narrated his own death. When the video of Officer Derek Chauvin sadistically choking Mr. Floyd to death went viral, America stood witness to an act of depravity—an act so horrendous that even the willfully ignorant could no longer deny the reality of police brutality.
The gruesome scene must be viewed in context. It is easy to see Officer Chauvin as a barbarian, devoid of human compassion and fueled by hatred and racism. Except for those in the fringe holding extremist ideals, every American has denounced Mr. Floyd’s murder. But we cannot pat ourselves on the back for finding the racist and locking him up. We must act, as the videographer bravely did, or we’ll be no better than Chauvin’s fellow officers.
The nation’s problem is not Officer Derek Chauvin; racism runs far deeper than a few bad cops. While the American majority has accumulated wealth, luxury, and security over the centuries, the institutions and policies fostering that growth often did so at the expense of black Americans. Racism was once overt, as enshrined in our constitution. Then came the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which were our first steps of absolution, beginning the process of ending our great evil of slavery. The Civil Rights Acts of 1964 took aim at Jim Crow and segregation. However, neither of these steps eradicated hatred. Our sordid history of systemic racism stained the very fabric of our nation. A stubborn, pernicious, and deadly illness.

Employees-300x200A few weeks ago, the global economy rolled forward under its own immense inertia. While concerns of an economic downturn were growing, few suspected the preceding years of expansion would end overnight . . . yet here we are. It wasn’t the business cycle; it wasn’t an overheated housing market; it wasn’t irresponsible financial products. The behemoth was struck down where it stood because workers stopped working. Over the last five weeks, over 26 million people in the United States filed for unemployment assistance. In addition to those who lost their jobs, many employees were sent home to work or are temporarily laid off. What sort of protection do these employees have when restrictions are lifted and companies call them back to the workplace?

Lawmakers are debating when and how to reopen the larger economy—some arguing for a rapid reopening designed to minimize the length of time commerce remains stagnant, while others plea for a cautious reopening focused on minimizing infection rates. Although much depends on the way government loosens the current restrictions, tension between employee safety and the desire to resume normal operations is certain to grow.

Employees may feel powerless when their employers ask them to return to work. Can an employer fire employees who are reluctant to perform certain tasks? Should an employee that suffers from a medical condition that increases the danger of the virus be forced to return upon the employer’s demand? What if a worker has been exposed to the virus during the shutdown? Can employees be required to test in order to return to work?

AndersonNeumann Law Group is accepting new clients who were sexually assaulted by Dr. Robert E. Anderson, university physician at the University of Michigan. Our firm successfully sued Michigan State University on behalf of survivors of the shockingly similar predator, Dr. Larry Nassar. Our firm is committed to advancing the rights of individuals who suffered because the two of the most vaunted educational institutions in America failed to protect the students charged to their care.

Dr. Robert E. Anderson (deceased, 2008), who worked as a physician for the University of Michigan from 1968 through 2003, is at the center of numerous allegations of sexual assault. The university is now the subject of a federal lawsuit, brought by a survivor of his abuse, alleging the school had knowledge of the doctor’s predilections, and rather than protecting the vulnerable students, U-M protected him. The university allowed him to continue his pattern of assaults for several decades.

Survivors describe Anderson’s behavior began during the draft era of the Vietnam War. The first step in being drafted was receiving a physical. Anderson offered to write students a letter stating that the potential draftee was homosexual, a declaration that at the time disqualified an otherwise suitable candidate for compelled military service. However, he demanded sexual favors in return—something that was well known in the Ann Arbor gay community at the time.

Dark-Hospital-300x191In the 1990s, the use of a neurovascular stent for a procedure call “stent-assisted coiling” was considered a breakthrough treatment for treating brain aneurysms. The medical device offered a non-surgical method to address weak spots in blood vessels in the brain. An aneurysm occurs when a weak point in a vessel allows blood to bulge out the vessel wall. If the aneurysm bursts, it can cause traumatic consequences, particularly when the aneurysm is located in the brain.

A non-stent assisted coiling treatment for an aneurysm involved running a stint from a patient’s leg up into the location of the aneurysm in the brain. The catheter would then inject a string of soft platinum into the aneurysm, which coils upon itself within the “bubble” of the aneurysm. After the platinum was fully deployed, the blood in the aneurysm clots along the coil and eventually fills the either aneurysm, such that is no longer poses the threat of rupture.

The procedure described above worked well, unless the aneurism had a “wide neck.” Where a normal aneurysm looks like a bubble stuck on the side of the vessel, a wide neck aneurysm looks more like a semi-circle. Instead of having a small weak spot in the vessel bulge out into a bubble, the wide neck variety involves a larger weak spot that expands the vessel in a distorted manner. Introducing the platinum coil into the aneurysm is not feasible, as the coil is too exposed to the blood flow and will not remain in place.

Cruise-Carnival-300x169For decades, cruise lines have been the subject of lawsuits arising out of bacteriological and viral diseases that caused by the negligent implementation of anti-infectious disease measures. Noroviruses, Legionella organisms, salmonella, shigella, and Escherichia coli have all turned a boat packed with festive vacationers into floating public health disasters. Now, some of the world’s largest cruise lines have been infected with COVID-19, which has not only created devastating epidemiological consequences for the ship’s guests, but due to a failure in planning, have turned vessels with over 5,000 passengers into international refugee camps.

By failing to disclose the dangers of boarding a cruise ship during a burgeoning pandemic and failing to make suitable contingency plans in the event of a ship wide contamination, cruise ships have been forced to dock outside of nations that are unwilling to admit hundreds of infected passengers within their borders. The passengers are left afloat without proper medical care, adequate medication, or the support of their families.

Most charts tallying COVID-19 infections by country also include a line for “International Conveyance.” This is legal parlance for the cruise ships that served as incubators for the novel coronavirus. The Diamond Princess alone had 700 infections—at one point exceeding every other country outside of China. Sadly, seven of those infections have resulted in death.

Blood-Sugar-Reader-300x200The FDA announced February 11, 2020, that Medtronic recalled all 322,005 of its MiniMed insulin pumps in the United States. The agency issued a Class I Recall, which is the most serious type of recall reserved for situations where use of a medical device may cause serious injury or death. The recall comes on the heels of the first reported death caused by the device.

Insulin pumps regulate blood sugar in people with Type 1 diabetes. The device delivers small doses of short acting insulin continuously throughout the day, which replaces the traditional method of the patient periodically injecting him or herself with longer acting insulin. In operation, an insulin pump better recreates the function of a healthy pancreas.

The pump holds an insulin reservoir, from which insulin is slowly introduced into the body through a thin plastic tube that is permanently placed into the patient’s abdomen. The rate of flow is adjusted to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Insulin cartridges must be replaced periodically when the reservoir is depleted.

Child-199x300Every parent wants to provide the very best they can for their children, directly or indirectly dedicating most of their waking hours towards building a safe and happy home life, and part of the beautiful innocence of little children is their complete ignorance of their parents’ hard work and sacrifice dedicated to providing a home. The child feels safe because of the mother’s and father’s mere presence.

Sadly, we live in a world of not only childish innocence, but one of tragedy and loss. Although a parent would gladly trade places with his or her child in the event of disease or physical trauma, we are never given that choice. Yet sometimes, children do have their parents torn from them at a young age. Losing a parent at a young age is one of the most devastating life events a human can experience. Not only is there a terrible sense of loss, the child’s future is suddenly uncertain. Who will raise the child? How will they pay for the child’s needs? Will there be a family fight to determine both?

Under Michigan law, a minor that loses his or her parents will either be placed with friends or family, or in the absence of a willing caregiver, be placed into the foster care system. As parents, we do not want our bereaved children to go through any unnecessary distress or uncertainty. Consequently, it’s a parent’s responsibility to have an estate plan that nominates the children’s caretakers in the event of their death. To learn more about estate planning, you will find an article discussing the basics here.

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