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Patient Files $22 Million Suit Against Surgeon Who Paralyzed Him

Near the end of the summer, a medical malpractice suit was filed against Oregon Health & Science University and its surgeon for paralyzing a patient during an operation to untether a pinched nerve.

The plaintiff alleges that the surgeon twice dropped a surgical instrument onto his spinal cord during the surgery. As a result, the plaintiff suffered permanent damages including: quadriplegia, urinary and fecal incontinence, pain, interference with daily activities and loss of enjoyment to life. He is requesting damages totaling $22 million.

Specifically, he is asking for:

  • $2,000,000 for past medical bills
  • $10,000,000 for future medical bills and cost of care, and
  • $10,000,000 for loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering

Oregon Torts Claim Act

Under the Oregon Torts Claim Act, there is a limit to recovery in successful tort claims brought against the state or its employees. Since the Oregon Health & Science University operates a public hospital, any damages the plaintiff receives will be capped. The rationale behind the cap is that it strikes a balance between awarding appropriate damages and protecting the public from absorbing the cost of exorbitant payouts. While the petitioner is seeking $22 million, he can only receive a maximum of $4.1 million by statute.

2009 Oregon Health & Science University Lawsuit

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Oregon Health & Science University has been sued for medical malpractice. Another suit was filed against OHSU in 2009 alleging that a surgeon negligently severed a blood vessel in the petitioner’s liver forcing him to have a liver transplant. Under the Torts Claim Act, the petitioner only received $3 million; an amount so small it didn’t cover his outstanding medical bills, let alone any future bills he would incur. In response to this suit, OHSU apologized but claimed that the Torts Claim Act cap allows hospitals and other high-risk public services to function.

Have You Suffered an Injury in Oregon?

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal or brain injury, you should immediately contact an attorney. At Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, PC we have years of experience handling these complex cases and will ensure that you receive the services that you deserve. Call (541) 617-0555 for an initial consultation, free of charge. We understand that these injuries incur great financial burden on the victim and their family, that’s why we work on a contingency fee basis. If you don’t recover any money, we don’t get paid.

Nursing Homes No Longer Able to Force Arbitration

Near the end of September, the Department of Health and Human Resources promulgated a new rule that prohibits nursing homes that receive federal funding from requiring its residents to resolve disputes through arbitration.

The agency reasoned that forced arbitration clauses found in nursing home contracts kept widespread patterns of elder abuse out of the public view. The result is that residents and their families can seek justice in an open forum for the abuse and neglect that they have suffered.

What Is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution that is an alternative to going before a judge in a court of law. Usually written into a contract, both parties agree to discuss a settlement with an impartial arbitrator and the final product is binding. This means that each party waives their right to have an independent review of the facts before a judge or jury.

The final award is usually sealed to the public so only the parties involved know the final resolution.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Arbitration

Arbitration agreements are becoming increasingly common because they have many practical benefits. Generally arbitration:

  • Is cheaper than litigating in court
  • Is faster than other alternatives
  • Allows more control over the outcome

While arbitration can be beneficial, forced arbitration has many drawbacks. Forced arbitration:

  • Is unreviewable by a court of law
  • Effectively hides criminal and civil misconduct
  • Is generally sealed to the public

Since arbitration agreements are common in many types of contracts, you should always make sure that you have a qualified attorney review any document that you sign to make sure that it is in your best interest.

Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Unfortunately, elder abuse is far too common in nursing homes today. Fortunately, this new rule will help victims of nursing home abuse get the recourse that they legally deserve. If you or a loved one has been the victim of any form of elder abuse, you should immediately contact an attorney.

If you reside in Oregon, the attorneys at Dwyer WilliamsDretke, PC have years of experience specializing in elder abuse cases. Attorneys are available for a free case evaluation to determine the damages that you may be entitled to receive. Please contact us at (541) 617-0555. 

While nothing can eliminate the pain that elder abuse causes, everyone is entitled to legal protection under the law.

Argument Between Southeast Portland Neighbors Results in Wrongful Death Claim

Neighborly disputes are not uncommon, but what is uncommon is for them to turn fatal. Unfortunately for one Southeast Portland man, voicing his concern regarding a speeding neighbor ultimately ended his life.

A few days before his death, Dean Anthony Kuntz visited the Landis residence and spoke to the wife about her husband’s speeding in the neighborhood. According to the lawsuit, he was concerned that children may get hurt by Landis’ reckless driving.

On June 28, Jon Landis confronted Kuntz at Kuntz’s residence. Kuntz’s daughter states that her father stepped outside and the two men began to argue. Kuntz asked Landis to leave the property and Landis, after taking a few steps towards the road, turned and fatally shot her father twice in the chest.

Estate Seeking $2 Million in Damages

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Kuntz’s estate is now seeking $2 million in noneconomic damages as well as an undetermined amount to cover the loss of Kuntz’s income, funeral and all related costs. The suit states that Kuntz’s death was the result of Landis’ reckless conduct and his failure to control his “angry impulses”.

It also highlights the fact that Landis chose to arm himself with a gun.

The lawsuit also contends that Landis’ wife was negligent for the following reasons:

  • She failed to keep her husband from arming himself with a gun prior to heading to the Kuntz’s home
  • She failed to warn the Kuntz family of her husband
  • She failed to ensure that her husband did not speed through the neighborhood

Essentially, the suit alleges that she knew of her husband’s temperment, knew he packed a gun, and knew he was going to get into a verbal – if not physical – confrontation with Kuntz, yet did nothing to stop him, warn the Kuntz family, or call authorities.

Who Can Be Sued for Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against a variety of persons, employees, companies and even government agencies. Let’s say there was a car accident involving both a drunk driver and a faulty roadway. A wrongful death action could include:

  • The driver/employer at fault for the accident
  • The government agent who did not provide adequate warnings about a potential road hazard
  • The designer/builder of the faulty roadway
  • The person(s) who served, sold or provided the impaired driver with alcohol

There is a lot of misinformation about wrongful death claims and what your rights are as a person who has lost a loved one. At Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, PC, we make sure that our clients receive the care and attention they need so that you are not only financially compensated for your loss, but that you are able to fully focus on your emotional recovery.

If you have lost a loved one prematurely as a result of someone else’s actions, we  invite you to give us a call at (541) 617-0555 to arrange for your free consultation.

Bicyclist Sues City of Portland for Spine Injury

A bicyclist who suffered a spine injury in a 2013 road accident has recently filed a lawsuit against the City of Portland, the Oregon Department of Transportation and TriMet. The plaintiff, a 59-year old man, was riding home from work when a pickup driver struck him and drove off without stopping. The lawsuit does not name the driver, whose identity remains unknown.

 

Details of Lawsuit for Spine Injury

 

The bicycle accident happened on the North Interstate Avenue at around 11:30 p.m. At the time of the incident, the bicyclist was wearing two reflection vests and his bike was equipped with 5 lights. A Ford F-350 pickup truck hit the plaintiff somewhere near Greenley Avenue, which is reportedly a common site of bicycle accidents.

 

The bicyclist suffered extensive injuries, particularly a broken spine in at least 11 places, broken ribs, a lacerated liver and internal bleeding. He has been paralyzed following his spine injury and is now seeking compensation in the amounts of:

 

  • $15 million for pain and loss of enjoyment of life
  • $1.75 million for medical and rehabilitation costs for the past 2 years
  • $2.5 million for future costs
  • $250,000 for the payment of household duties that he can no longer perform
  • $100,000 for lost wages, and
  • $300,000 for future lost earnings

 

His wife also seeks compensation in the amount of $1.5 million for lost company, support, service, and comfort of her husband.

 

Allegations Against the Defendants

 

The plaintiff claims that the road’s design was too narrow, inconsistent with an Oregon Administrative rule stating that the ideal width for a bicycle lane is at least 6 feet. He attributes fault to the city for failing to maintain a bike lane of at least 6 feet wide and TriMet for its dangerous redesign of the North Interstate where several cyclists have been injured in accidents.

 

The lawsuit also alleges that the defendants were negligent for their failure to install signs warning drivers of narrow lanes and of the presence of bicyclists on the road. The plaintiff adds that the road where the accident happened bears faded lines between car and bike lanes, a clear indicator, they say, that cars drive over to the bicycle lane.

 

If you or a loved one is suffering from a spine injury arising from an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. In Portland, Oregon, the law offices of Dwyer Williams Cherkoss has a wide range of experience in handling personal injury cases involving spine injury. Ask us about your legal options by calling today for a free consultation, at (541) 617-0555.

Man Sues Portland Club for Brain Injury

A man who was injured after a night out at a strip club is suing the club for damages arising from brain injury. The plaintiff went to the strip club together with three other business associates on the night of the incident. However, the night ended badly with the plaintiff and a female companion suffering injuries at the hands of other club patrons.

If you or a family member suffers from brain injury arising from an accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

Details of Incident

In his complaint for damages, the plaintiff stated that he and his companions had just emerged from the strip club and were waiting for a cab outside the club when another patron lifted one of his female companions off the sidewalk, hurting her as she fell to the ground.

The plaintiff tried to intervene when another drunken patron allegedly punched the plaintiff in the head. The plaintiff became unconscious as a result of the blow and suffered injuries including fractures to the face and skull, bleeding in his ears and near the brain, and traumatic brain injury that significantly affected his ability to eat, drink, and speak.

The plaintiff’s attacker fled the scene and has not been apprehended.

Claiming Compensation for Brain Injury

The Plaintiff based his claim for compensation on the strip club’s failure to provide adequate security on the sidewalk in front of the club, when it knew of the risks of violent assault to patrons of strip clubs.

For his brain injury, the plaintiff sought compensation in the amount of $500,000 in medical and rehabilitation costs, $50,000 in lost income, and the amount of $3.5 million for his noneconomic damages. Plaintiff’s wife also claims $500,000 for loss of companionship, support, service and comfort of her husband.

Under Oregon tort law, an injured party may be entitled to damages for brain injury suffered through the negligence of another person or entity. A personal injury attorney can assess your situation and provide advice on your legal options.

In Portland, Oregon, the accident injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss have more than 100 years of combined experience in brain injury claims, helping clients recover compensation for their injuries. In the last three years, we have handled more than 600 cases in a wide range of personal injury areas such as car accidents, dog bites and attack, faulty premises, brain injuries, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, truck accidents, and wrongful death cases.

If you have been the victim of such life altering injuries, we invite you to call us today at (541) 617-0555 to arrange a free initial consultation.

Proving Damages in a Slip-and-Fall Case

Slip and fall accidents can result in serious injuries. Oftentimes these injuries will prevent you from going back to work – perhaps for an extended period of time. So it is important to consult a personal injury attorney who can assist you in holding liable the party responsible for your accident.

 

You will have the best chance of obtaining compensation from the liable party if you have a strong case and a professional, competent, experienced premises liability attorney.

 

How to Prove Damages When You Have a Slip-and-Fall Claim

 

In order to recover compensation for physical injuries, lost wages, and the inability to earn a living or compensation for pain and suffering, you must be able to show a jury or judge that you suffered damages as a result of another party’s negligence.

 

There are many ways to prove you have been injured in such accidents, but negligence is often the legal argument used. Put simply, negligence is when a person or entity had a duty to another person; that duty was breached; and the breach of that duty caused damages to the victim.

 

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is essential to do the following:

 

  • Document when and where the accident took place. If you have access to a camera (which these days most people do via their mobile phones), take photos of the accident site. If you are unable to do this, ask a friend or family member to do this for you.
  • Obtain a police report. If law enforcement or paramedics are called, make sure you obtain the report from that visit. This will show that you were injured immediately upon the slip and fall.
  • Keep all medical records for any doctor or hospital visits and keep a record of all medical bills you receive as a result of those visits.  Likewise, be complete in your reporting of what happened and what your symptoms are at each medical visit.
  • Keep track of how much time you have to take off from work, including how much this has cost you in terms of lost wages. This will be important if you are making a lost wages claim.
  • If you are unable to return to work, ensure to get this opinion, in writing, from your doctor. A court will want to see that a medical professional has not cleared you to return to work.

 

Consult a Slip-and-Fall Attorney

 

The personal injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss have been handling slip and fall claims for many years. We are skilled at bringing a case to, and through, trial (if necessary) as well as successfully engaging in settlement negotiations in an effort to keep costs to our clients to a minimum.

 

If you are a victim of a faulty premises, or of a dangerous substance on the floor, and you want an initial consultation, we welcome your call at (541) 617-0555.

Oregon Woman Dies in Car Crash: Driver Under Influence of Marijuana

The cause of a recent fatal crash on I-5 in Turnwater, Washington, has been discovered. The driver of the car that caused the auto accident was under the influence of marijuana. He has been charged with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence.

 

The man was driving at 5:39 in the morning at a speed exceeding 100 miles per hour according to law enforcement. His car crashed into another car driven by a 43-year-old woman from Oregon. Her car rolled into a ditch, and she died as a result of the crash.

 

During an accident investigation, law enforcement officials smelled marijuana on the driver of the suspect vehicle. They obtained a search warrant for a blood test to determine whether the driver was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash.

 

Marijuana Played a Role in Crash

 

While there is an ongoing legal battle to make marijuana legal, and while it has been legalized in several states including Oregon, people often forget that it is a drug that has mind-altering properties.

 

According to a Washington law enforcement official, people tend to forget that they can be impaired by the use of marijuana. Driving while under the influence of this drug can result in serious accidents, including ones such as this that result in fatalities.

 

The man who caused the crash has been prohibited from using controlled substances. He is being held on $30,000 bail.

 

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

 

If you, or a loved one, have been in a car accident caused by someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be entitled to compensation. The auto accident attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss have over 100 yearss of collective experience handling car crash claims, and we fight tirelessly to uphold the rights of our injured and recovering clients.

 

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss your case, we welcome your call at (541) 617-0555.

Towing Company Sued for Fatal Truck Accident

The family of a driver killed in a fatal truck accident on Highway 99W Southwest of Dundee has sued the towing company and its driver for wrongful death.

 

According to an Oregon state police report, the towing company’s Ford F6500 with a 21-foot bed stopped at a crossover on the highway near Trunk Road.  That’s when another vehicle, a Dodge Ram, crashed into its rear portion that was protruding into the fast lane in which the Dodge Ram was traveling.

 

The Ram’s 85-year old driver suffered critical injuries and died 5 days after he was airlifted to a hospital in Portland. The tow truck driver was uninjured.

 

Negligence Causing the Truck Accident

 

While the police report determined that the deceased Ram driver was responsible for the collision, the deceased driver’s family disagree with its findings which mentioned that the deceased driver failed to maintain a safe distance from a roadside vehicle.

 

In their lawsuit, the family of the deceased driver maintains an opposite view and allege that the crash arose from the negligence of the towing company, and its driver, by not operating the large vehicle in a safe manner. The family is claiming $1.2 million in damages.

 

Truck Accident Claims

 

In Oregon, motorists regularly face truck accident risks as they share the highway with large trucks, semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. Due to the massive weight and size of these vehicles, trucks and similar heavy-weight vehicles can cause serious damage and injury to lighter vehicles and their passengers.  Moreover, it is not unusual for a police officer to cite the wrong party, as they simply do not have the time to dig as deep into the facts as an experienced personal injury attorney does.

 

If you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident, even if you were cited, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

 

In Oregon, the accident injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss have over 100 years of combined truck accident experience, assisting injured plaintiffs in more than 600 cases in the last 3 years recover the amount of compensation that they legally deserve.

 

We also handle other personal injury cases such as slip and fall accidents, dog bites and attack, bicycle, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents, and car accidents.

 

Call us today at (541) 617-0555 to speak to an attorney about your situation.

Man Miraculously Survives Fiery Motorcycle Accident

Sean Henderson was traveling on a motorcycle when he tried to negotiate a turn east onto the Beaverton Hillsdale highway near Oleson Road. While cars on the westbound lane slowed down and stopped to allow him through, a car driven by 56-year-old woman allegedly passed all the other cars and crashed into the motorcyclist.

 

The impact of the motorcycle accident caused the bike and the car to burst into flames. The motorcyclist suffered serious physical injuries while the car driver was reportedly unhurt.

 

Henderson has since been discharged from the hospital where he was rushed to immediately after the accident. His mother says that witnesses at the scene of the accident helped her son get immediate medical attention and that his clothes miraculously kept the flames from burning his skin. However, due to his injuries, it may take at least 2 weeks for Henderson to completely recover and return to a roofing company where he was regularly working at the time of the accident.

 

Claiming Compensation for Motorcycle Accident

 

When a motorcycle is involved in a collision with another car or other larger motor vehicle, the crash may result in serious or grave injuries to the motorcyclist. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the rider may suffer from:

 

  • Traumatic head injury
  • Fractures
  • Deep tissue injuries
  • Burns

 

Expensive medical treatment, therapy and rehabilitation are often necessary for a complete recovery. In the meantime, the injured rider may experience reduced income from lost time at work, increased expenses for care and attention at home, and loss of companionship.

 

If you or a family member is involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries.

 

Seeking the legal advice of a personal injury lawyer is important. Your motorcycle accident attorney can assess your situation, identify the party or parties who may be held legally responsible for your injuries and represent you before insurance companies or at proper venues for presenting your compensation claim.

 

Representing Portland Residents

 

In Portland, Oregon, the accident injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss have more than 100 years of combined experience in motorcycle accidents and similar cases. Our firm has handled more than 600 cases in the last 3 years and continue to serve clients in a wide range of situations such as car accidents, pedestrian accidents, dog bites and dog attack, truck accidents, slip and fall, and wrongful death claims.

 

We welcome your call today at (541) 617-0555 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. NOte also that we handle cases on a contingency-fee arrangement, meaning we don’t get paid unless you do.

Nursing Home Neglect Discovered after Patient Was Rushed to ER

A nursing home in Atlanta is being investigated for potential nursing home neglect and mistreatment of a female patient. The suspected negligence or abuse was discovered after the elderly patient was admitted to the emergency room of a nearby hospital where doctors treated her for a 3-inch wound on the side of her head. Upon closer examination, the elderly woman appeared to have other wounds with questionable causes.

Trust in Nursing Care Facilities

The patient, a 77-year old woman, had been in the nursing home for 4 years after a fall left her unable to move and to communicate. Her family says that they visit her weekly and didn’t suspect any abuse or neglect until the emergency treatment.

Doctors in the emergency room also found bleeding in the patient’s brain, overall poor hygiene, severely ingrown nails, and an open wound on the patient’s hand where the bandage appeared to have been unchanged for days. The same doctors then asked the nursing facility about what had happened but the facility simply said that they were unsure of the circumstances surrounding the injuries, and that it was still under investigation.

In an interview, the patient’s grandson said that he is convinced that the patient’s injuries and overall condition indicate nursing home negligence.

Nursing Home Negligence in Oregon

The state of Oregon has an estimated population of 3,928,068 persons, 15.5% of whom are at the ages of 65 and older. The number of elderly individuals is growing, requiring greater levels in assisted living, thereby increasing the possibility of elderly abuse and neglect.

According to Adult Protective Services in Oregon, in 2013, it received 28,449 reports of suspected abuse involving elderly and people with physical disability. More than half of the complaints had sufficient grounds for investigation. Most of the complaints involved nursing homes, adult foster homes, and assisted living and residential care facilities.

Claiming Compensation for Nursing Home Neglect

Negligence of the elderly in nursing homes is often difficult to detect, and requires a lot of resources to investigate and prosecute. Many victims in these facilities are unable to report their abuse due to their health conditions, or are reluctant to cooperate in investigations out of fear for their ongoing care.

Negligence in the care of elderly patients can have serious health consequences which may be irreversible due to their advanced age. If your loved one shows signs of lack of care such as unexplained injuries and poor hygiene, they may be entitled to compensation.

In Portland, Oregon, the attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss have over 100 years of combined experience in personal injury cases, including nursing home neglect. We also have offices located in Medford, Grants Pass, Roseburg, Eugene and Bend, and handle cases involving injuries as a result of car accidents, slip and fall, pedestrian accidents, dog bites and dog attack, and wrongful death.

We welcome your call today at (541) 617-0555 to discuss your family member’s nursing home neglect situation with one of our experienced elder abuse attorneys.

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