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Crocker Law Firm

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String of July Fourth Boating Accidents Serves as a Solemn Safety Reminder
Is it possible to initiate a personal injury lawsuit following a boating accident?

To many, the Fourth of July signifies fireworks, barbeques and relaxation with friends and family. Sadly, however, this historic holiday is also one of the riskiest in terms of injuries and accidents – especially for those choosing to spend the weekend on one of Kentucky’s renowned lakes and rivers. 

This past holiday was tragically no exception, and several serious and fatal injuries occurred throughout the Commonwealth over the holiday break. If you were recently injured in a recreational watercraft accident and believe another boater’s negligence may be to blame, we encourage you to contact us right away to discuss your case.
July Fourth’s fatal boating accidents

Headlining the wave of Independence Day accidents was a story out of Louisville involving several partiers heading down the Ohio River. According to details released by the local fire department,
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Know Your Rights Following a Domestic Animal Encounter
I was recently bitten by a dog in the neighborhood, and I believe the animal has attacked other neighbors. Can I sue the dog’s owner? 

In Kentucky, domestic animal owners and/or handlers are responsible for the conduct of their pets – and can be held civilly liable in the event of an attack. However, this area of the law is highly-nuanced, and it is best to work with an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury firm if you recently experienced an injury following an unexpected and unprovoked animal attack. The following are several frequently asked questions regarding dog bite liability in Kentucky: 

FAQ #1: Is there a statute to cover this situation? –
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National Guardrail Manufacturer Facing Nine-Figure Penalties for Defrauding Highway Safety Officials
What can happen if an interstate motorist is injured due to a defective or faulty guardrail system? 

Under federal regulations, all interstate transportation systems (including their component parts) must be inspected and approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency tasked with ensuring that the flow of interstate traffic is safe and protected from faulty engineering or defective parts. 

Guardrails serve as a vital safety feature on interstate roadways. Recently 42 U.S. states, including Kentucky, suspended the installation of replacement guardrail systems after it came to light that the manufacturer lied to the NHTSA in the design review and approval process. The result? A fine topping $600 million, and the imposition of lengthy and extensive testing procedures at the cost of the contractor – all to ensure America’s motorists are kept free from unnecessary and unreasonable harm. 

Details of the Case Against Trinity Guardrail Systems

In 2005, Texas-based Trinity, Inc. submitted designs for replacement guardrail systems pursuant to a contract it won from the federal government. The guardrail systems were tested and approved for installation before the company opted to alter the design in order to reduce costs. However, Trinity never
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Parents Initiate Lawsuit on Behalf of Child Injured at School Event
What are parents’ rights in the event their child is injured while at school? 

Under a legal concept known as in local parentis, a public or private school is required to “step in” to the shoes of the parent and assume responsibility for the safety of a child during the school day. While children are present, teachers and administrators have a duty to exercise reasonable safety and care with each child – and may be held liable for breaching this duty, resulting in injury. 

In one recent case occurring near Harrodsburg, Kentucky, parents of a child injured during a lively school function have exercised their option to seek compensation from the school district for their child’s medical expenses. According to reports, the child was injured while playing in a “bouncy house” erected for an end-of-the year celebration in May, 2014. The child, who was just 10 years old at the time, experienced a completely broken elbow.  His parents have alleged a failure by school officials to properly supervise the event. 

Allegedly, the child was traversing the equipment – which was designed as a maze-like obstacle course – when older children began violently shaking the outside of the inflatable. As a result, the child was thrown from the apparatus onto the pavement below, sustaining major injuries in the process.
Choosing defendants 

When a child is injured, it becomes the responsibility of the parent or
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Flaws in Technology Lead to More Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.
What are the issues with the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system?

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is commonly used by physicians, clinics, and hospitals to track patient data and to provide alerts and advice.  The goal of the system is to reduce the cost of healthcare and to improve the quality of care that all patients receive by making sure their entire medical history is available and legible for any treating professional.  The government has spent $30 billion in the past five years to incentivize the adoption of this system, and it has been successful in this regard.

However, mistakes caused by the automation of healthcare are increasingly becoming a factor in medical malpractice lawsuits.  EHR related lawsuits doubled from 2013 to 2014.  The lawsuits filed claim that typos led to medication mistakes, that the voice recognition software used by the system is faulty and that the interface with the system can be confusing for medical professionals who are still familiarizing themselves with the new technology.  As a result, doctors are relying on incorrect records and making mistakes, leading to dangerous consequences for patients.

In one instance, a hospital administered thirty-nine times the safe dosage of an antibiotic to a
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Potentially Counterproductive Non-disclosure Clauses Litter Medical Malpractice Settlement Agreements
Why do medical malpractice settlements have non-disclosure clauses?

A recent review of 124 settlements from the University of Texas hospital system uncovered an alarming problem. About 90% of the settlements, 110 out of the 124, included nondisclosure clauses.  This type of clause prohibits disclosing the terms of the agreement and the settlement amount.  Most of the agreements prohibited acknowledging that a settlement had even been reached.  Almost half of the settlement agreements reviewed barred any discussion of the medical error that resulted in the settlement.  About 25% of them were designed to keep the details of any errors away from regulators.  In 9% of the cases reviewed, even doctors and hospital staff were sworn to secrecy.  The value of the settlements reviewed ranged from $500.00 to $1.25 million, with an average value of $185,000.00 each.

The purpose behind non-disclosure agreements is to protect the reputation of doctors and avoid the publicity of potential mistakes.  Many parties also want to discourage lawsuits, and they believe that by preventing discussion of successful settlements, people will be less likely to file claims.

Michelle Mello, a professor of law and health policy at Stanford University, wrote an editorial accompanying this study
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Legally Unraveling a Multi-Vehicle Accident
I was stuck in the middle of a multi-car pileup in Bowling Green recently. I didn’t cause the wreck, but still rear-ended the vehicle in front of me. What are my rights? 

Multi-vehicle accidents are some of the most dangerous and catastrophic collisions occurring on roadways today. Oftentimes, these accidents occur at the hands of an inattentive driver whose collision with one vehicle catapults a chain reaction between several other innocently adjacent motorists. When it comes to unraveling the legal ramifications of such an accident, it may be initially unclear as to precisely which party is to blame due to the number of vehicles involved. 

Liability following a multi-vehicle accident, like all other accidents, is determined upon a finding of negligence. This concept is comprised of four elements, each of which must be successfully asserted by the plaintiff in order to prevail. The four elements of a negligence action are known as (i) duty; (ii) breach; (iii) causation; and (iv) damages. In a multi-vehicle accident, the causation element is quite often at issue, as well as whether the alleged defendant acted reasonably under the circumstances at the time of the crash. 

If you were involved in a multi-car pileup, the motorist in front of you may attempt to hold you
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entucky Medical Malpractice Case Has National implications
What does the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act mean for Medical Malpractice Claims?

Luvetta Goff died of complications during an elective spinal surgery at University of Kentucky HealthCare.  When her family tried to use the courts to look deeper into the matter, her doctors refused to cooperate, saying that Federal law protects a report generated after she died from being used in a malpractice lawsuit.  This dispute has implications for the effectiveness of patient-safety organizations nationwide.

The doctors argue that the federal Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act is meant to promote patient safety by allowing doctors to learn from each other through candid sharing of information.  Their position is that if doctors are scared of being sued for mistakes, they will not be truthful in their reports and future patients will suffer as a result; the purpose of the law would essentially be subverted.  

The attorneys for Ms. Goff argue that the record in question was generated because
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