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$2.9 Million Settlement to Fla.Woman Hurt in Road-Construction Crash

As she drove her car through road construction along Interstate 10 in Florida on Dec. 19, 2009, Melicent Sanders slowed quickly as a construction dump truck dropped its speed precariously in front of her. But even as she avoided a crash with the dump truck, a large van behind her didn’t stop in time, smashing into the rear of her car, causing serious injuries to Sanders.

More than four years later, Sanders has received a damage settlement of about $2.9 million from the construction company that was performing the highway work, from the trucking company that owned the dump truck and from the van driver who struck her Volkswagen, according to an April 15 story in The Florida Times-Union newspaper.

Sanders was driving along I-10 that day as part of her job with the state Department of Children and Families as a child protective investigator, the paper reported. She was heading out to investigate a child abuse claim. She never arrived for that visit. Instead, as she drove through the construction area, her car was struck by the van from behind, which was traveling about 60 mph, and wedged into the rear of the dump truck, which had slowed to about 25 mph, the story reported.

“Both drivers didn’t think she survived,” the paper reported. “I seen her slumped over the wheel, and I just froze,” Lorenza Toller, the truck driver, told the paper. “I stopped, you know, I just froze because I assumed that she was dead.”

The problem, Sanders’ attorney told the paper, was that the company that was doing the highway project, Hubbard Construction, failed to adequately post required advisory signs and other warnings about the road project. That meant that approaching drivers were not adequately warned about the hazards that lay ahead. Hubbard Construction had been hired by the state on an almost $58 million contract to add lanes to the formerly four-lane highway, “but the company didn’t close either of the lanes or add an emergency lane for oncoming construction vehicles,” the paper reported.

“When one employee complained it wasn’t safe for dump trucks to leave the highway without room to slow down, he was told they weren’t ‘going to be there long enough to go through all the preparation of closing a lane, building a flat spot for the trucks to run off,’” according to a deposition described in the story. “If the truck company couldn’t do the job, he said, the construction company could find somebody else to do it.”

Sanders sustained serious injuries in the crash, including brain bleeding,  a fractured left arm and a shattered kneecap, the story reported. “She went a into a coma, and today, she doesn’t remember the incident,” her attorney told the paper.

“It is about construction zone safety,” the attorney told the paper, “and the hidden dangers that the traveling public would never see and the responsibility of the construction companies to provide safe passage. … When they violate the law and have sloppy practices, they’re going to be held liable.”

Under the settlement, Hubbard Construction is paying $2 million in damages, while the dump truck company is paying $950,000, the paper reported. Kelly Raulerson, the driver of the van that struck Sanders’ car, is paying $10,000.

These kinds of cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle accidents through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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Jury Awards $7.8 Million to Family in On-Track Death of Jockey

The family of a 55-year-old professional jockey who died in an on-track training incident at the Parx Racing track in Bensalem in 2010 has been awarded $7.8 million in damages by a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury.

The verdict in favor of the family of the late jockey, Mario Calderon of Croydon, Bucks County, was reported in an April 10 story in The Philadelphia Daily News.

Calderon was killed in May 2010 as he was exercising a horse, Cassidy Blue, on the track when the animal was startled by a free-roaming chicken which spread its wings near the track’s outer rail, according to the story.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/sshepard

“The lawsuit claimed that Parx created an unsafe work environment by letting chickens roam free on the racetrack, even though a jockey previously had been injured when a chicken frightened his horse,” the story reported. “The chickens had been brought there many years earlier by horse owners and trainers.”

Calderon was thrown from the horse, but “his foot got stuck in a stirrup and he then was dragged upside down, while the horse repeatedly kicked him in the chest, for about 40 seconds, according to the lawsuit.” He suffered 11 broken ribs and a bleed on his brain due to the incident at the former Philadelphia park facility.

The jury’s award included $5 million in punitive damages, according to the Daily News story.

“The jury forced Parx to do what Parx refused to do on its own: take responsibility for the tragic and very preventable death of a long-time jockey and loving husband and father,” the family’s attorney told the paper. “I’m hopeful that Parx will now get the message that the safety of jockeys and others on its premises is paramount to everything else, including profits from gambling.”

Calderon, who was married and had two children, had worked as a jockey for more than 30 years, the paper reported.

The plaintiff’s attorneys “found evidence as recently as 2011 that chickens continued to roam free on the Parx property including the racetrack” and never removed, according to an April 10 story in The Bucks County Courier Times.

Parx management “had knowledge in the months and years prior (to the accident) they were there,” the attorney told the paper. “They knew it presented a dangerous condition. It should have never happened.”

Injuries occur every day to innocent victims who are harmed through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in any kind of incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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N.Y. Woman, Struck by Truck in 2008, Receives $22 Million Settlement

As she was walking across an intersection in New York City in 2008, Brooklyn resident Shirley Miller, then 32, was struck by a Duane Reed drug store truck, causing massive injuries that left her with brain damage, speech impairments and blindness. The incident occurred on her birthday.

Almost six years after that devastating day, Miller has received a $22 million settlement to bring her lawsuit against the company to a close, according to a Feb. 28 story in the New York Law Journal.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/gynane

Miller, who is now 37 years old, was employed as a veterinarian when she was hit by the Duane Reade truck in Manhattan, the story reported. Miller and her parents sued the company and the driver, Henry Lewis, for unspecified damages, but the first trial ended up in a mistrial when some jurors were “complaining that they had to get back to work,” the story reported. The judge in the case later “recused himself after allegedly drawing a bull’s eye on a picture of a defense attorney.”

Miller was struck by the delivery truck at Ninth Avenue and 48th Street, according to a Feb. 28 story in the New York Daily News. The $22 million settlement was “the largest personal injury deal in state history,” according to the paper. The settlement came amid the second trial being conducted to resolve the case.

“Duane Reade denied liability on this for years and put her through the mill,” her lawyer, Evan Torgan, told the paper. “I’m satisfied that the amount will be enough to seek the medical care that she needs.”

Previously, the largest sum awarded in New York state to settle a single plaintiff personal injury lawsuit was $17.9 million in a medical malpractice suit, the paper reported.

“At trial, her lawyer was able to prove through witnesses and medical testimony that she was hit in the crosswalk by the front of the truck and did not slip on ice like the defendants claimed,” the story reported. “Duane Reade made up a story when the accident happened that she fallen under the rear wheel of the truck after it made a turn and we were able to prove that that was impossible,” her attorney told the paper.

The second trial had got underway in November 2013 after more than a year of legal maneuvers following the mistrial, according to the paper. Duane Reed settled the case after Miller’s attorneys finished presenting her evidence, according to the report.

These kinds of cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle accidents through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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$1.1 Million Verdict for Amputation Victim in Cancer Med Mal Case

After multiple and unsuccessful treatments by her doctor from 2007 to 2008 for a plantar ulcer on her foot, an elderly Philadelphia woman soon consulted with another doctor who diagnosed cancer which required partial amputation of her foot.

She later took the original doctor to court, alleging that he failed to diagnose her condition in a timely manner and didn’t perform a biopsy which would have revealed the cancerous growth in her foot. The victim, Margaret Wilson, recently won her case before a Philadelphia jury which awarded her a $1.1 million verdict for her injuries, according to a March 18 story in The Legal Intelligencer.

Wilson first went to her physician, Dr. Peter L. King, of Mercy Hospital in Philadelphia complaining of a plantar ulcer on her left foot, according to the story. “Wilson, who was in her 70’s at the time, treated numerous times with King over the next 10 months” with bone scans, antibiotics, wound cultures and other procedures, the story reported. “She was also treated at the Mercy Hospital Wound Center. In her pretrial memo, Wilson contended that the ulcer continued to grow during the treatments.”

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/uchar

By July of 2008, the ulcer was found to be necrotic, meaning the skin and tissue around it were now dead and infected, the story reported. She saw another doctor at the hospital over the next six months, but the victim continued to suffer swelling, wound warmth and lower extremity pain. She also underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy for treatment of her wound, the story reported.

By Nov. 24, 2008, however, a pathology report following a biopsy found that Wilson was suffering from verrucous carcinoma, a type of squamous cell carcinoma, the story reported. She then went to another doctor the following month at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Dermatology and underwent another biopsy in January 2009, which turned up “well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma,” the story stated. Following that diagnosis, Wilson lost part of her foot to an amputation to remove the cancerous tissue.

Wilson sued King and the second doctor she saw at Mercy Hospital, as well as the hospital, the Mercy Health System and the Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at Mercy Health Center, according to The Legal Intelligencer story. She “alleged that the doctors failed to timely diagnose her ulcer, perform a biopsy or refer her to another physician who would perform a biopsy,” according to the case. “Wilson contended that the allegedly delayed diagnosis led to invasive and metastatic skin cancer. She further contended that her life expectancy had lowered, and that she had an increased chance of reoccurrence. She also contended that she continued to have wound infection, abscesses and osteomyelitis, and will require future operations, including a metatarsectomy,” which is the removal of a foot bone.

The jury awarded Wilson $350,000 in past medical expenses and $750,000 in non-economic damages, following a seven-day trial. The second doctor that she saw at Mercy Hospital, Dr. Robert J. Wiemer, settled with the plaintiff for a confidential sum while the trial was underway.

These kinds of cases are a somber reminder that patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a medical malpractice, birth injury or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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$1.1 Million Compensation to 69-Year-Old Woman Badly Injured by Fallen Tree

As she walked across a parking lot at the Ridley Park Swim Club with her grandson on June 24, 2010, a 69-year-old Philadelphia woman was struck and seriously injured by a large tree that fell from an adjoining property.

Almost four years after the debilitating injuries she suffered, the victim, Maryanne Dunlap, has been awarded $750,000 in damages by a Delaware County jury, as well as a previously announced $350,000 arbitration award from the owner of the tree that fell on her. The tree fractured her right hip and knee.

Mrs. Dunlap had to undergo a hip replacement after the incident, and was then in a rehabilitation facility for more than three months before returning home, according to John A. Lord, the MyPhillyLawyer attorney who handled the case for the plaintiff. She will also have to undergo knee replacement surgery in the future due to her injuries.

A certified arborist who testified on behalf of the plaintiff said he examined the tree that fell on the victim as well as nearby trees on the property and determined that the fallen tree had been dead for some time and was a danger to passersby, according to MyPhillyLawyer.

“The Ridley Park Swim Club argued that it was not liable because the tree was not on their property and that, in any event, they had conducted a ‘reasonable’ inspection and were not able to determine that trees on the adjoining property were dangerous,” Lord said in a statement. Grape vines that were growing on the trees were also a sign that the trees were in danger, the arborist testified, because their weight was enough to cause a tree to fall over.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/lissart

In addition, “the swim club’s president admitted that he knew the vines were a danger to the trees,” according to Lord. “The Club admitted that it never hired an arborist to evaluate the condition of the trees and never closed off the lower parking lot and never posted warnings regarding the presence of dangerous trees.”

An expert in facilities and property management also testified on behalf of the plaintiff, and said that the standard of care for commercial property owners is to inspect not only the premises but situations off-premises that could endanger visitors, according to MyPhillyLawyer. Property owners are required to correct dangerous conditions or at least warn of their existence, the expert testified.

After her injuries and release from the rehabilitation facility, Mrs. Dunlap lived with one of her daughters for a year while her rehabilitation continued. “Before the incident, Mrs. Dunlap was independent in all of her daily activities, including caring for her grandchildren,” said Lord. “After the incident, as a result of her injuries, Mrs. Dunlap can ambulate short distances using a walker but requires a wheel chair for distances longer than a block. She can no longer drive a car and relies on her children for shopping, cleaning, transportation and most other needs.”

Mrs. Dunlap found MyPhillyLawyer via a Google search just 20 days before the statute of limitations on her case was due to expire. Had that date been reached before her lawsuit was filed, she would have been forever barred from seeking appropriate compensation from the wrongdoers for her life-altering injuries.

This case underscores the fact that innocent victims are hurt due to the actions or indifference of others in a wide range of incidents in every kind of situation imaginable. And that’s where having a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award is key.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a personal injury case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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Family Receives $3 Million in Damages in Topomax Birth Defect Case

A Philadelphia jury has awarded $3 million in damages to the family of a toddler who was born with cleft lip and cleft palate after her mother took the drug, Topomax, during her pregnancy.

The damage award against the makers of Topomax, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, was announced March 13 in a story in The Legal Intelligencer. The failure-to-warn lawsuit was filed in December 2011 in Philadelphia on behalf of the plaintiffs, Kelly and Bradley Anderson of East Troy, Wis., and their daughter, Payton, according to court records. The couple’s daughter is now five years old.

“Plaintiffs Kelly Anderson and her husband argued in their pretrial memorandum that Anderson’s ingestion of Topamax during the first trimester of her pregnancy caused their baby’s birth defects,” The Legal Intelligencer story reported. “Anderson, who took Topamax to treat her migraine headaches, learned she was pregnant Dec. 26, 2007. Court papers said that Anderson called her neurologist, Dr. Veronica Sosa, to discuss tapering off, but not eliminating, her Topamax use with the belief that her migraines would improve during pregnancy.”

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

Ultimately, “court papers said that Anderson’s obstetrician told her that Topamax was safe to take during pregnancy,” the story reported. “The plaintiffs argued Janssen did not adequately warn about the potential risks associated with Topamax until the label was changed in March 2011.”

The Andersons also alleged in their lawsuit “that Janssen knew about the risk of birth defects associated with Topamax as early as a decade before the label change, as evidenced by internal Janssen documents.”

During the trial, “Janssen employees also acknowledged Topamax’s potential to cause birth defects, court papers said, pointing to the testimony of Cathy Ellis, who served as Janssen’s associate director of regulatory affairs,” the story reported. “She testified that based on preclinical information at the time, Topamax ‘was known to cause some birth defects’ in humans as early as 1996,” according to court papers cited in the story.

The 12-person jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas rendered its verdict on behalf of the family with $1.5 million in damages for non-economic losses and $1.5 million for future health care expenses, according to the story. “The jury’s award March 7 in Anderson v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals marks the third Topamax-related verdict issued against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that manufactures the drug.”

During the trial, Janssen’s experts testified that certainty had not been established about a connection between Topomax and birth defects, court papers said. The company even tried to blame Mrs. Anderson for the birth defects by alleging that one of her doctors “informed her of the potential risks associated with taking Topamax during pregnancy and that Anderson ‘repeatedly refused’ to go off the drug, despite her doctor’s warnings,” the story reported.

“Mrs. Anderson’s conduct, such as her failure to heed the warnings Janssen provided with Topamax and/or heed the warnings concerning the drug’s side effects provided by her prescribing physicians, not only prevents [the] plaintiffs from meeting their burden of proof, but also demonstrates Mrs. Anderson herself was negligent,” defense papers said, according to the story.

One of the family’s attorneys said that “Janssen and Johnson & Johnson’s defensive strategy of placing the blame on the mothers and the doctors is not going to work,” The Legal Intelligencer reported.

These kinds of cases are a somber reminder that patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a medical malpractice, birth injury or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., represent clients in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the surrounding Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, and cities such as Media, Doylestown, and Norristown. We are also proud to serve South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, in Camden County, New Jersey.

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