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The United States uses a federalist system of government. This allows each of the fifty states to be fairly autonomous and limits the amount of power that the federal government possesses. One of the consequences of having this type of system is that there are state entities and federal entities. Courts are a prime example. There are both federal and  state courts, so it is important to have a grasp of their respective purposes and powers.

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Here are 5 interesting jury verdicts in 2015 that you might finding interesting:

$13,000 Settlement – A 31 year-old man is driving his car on the highway at a rate of around 60 mph. He approaches an intersection where a woman driving a pickup truck is attempting to vaflagmake a turn in the middle of the intersection. She starts to travel out into the intersection but stops upon seeing another driver’s car trying to make a left turn in front of her. Contact was unavoidable at that point, and the woman clips the man’s tires. He immediately complains of neck pain and is transported to the hospital via EMS, where doctors diagnose him with soft tissue injuries. He sues both of the involved drivers, claiming that they were negligent in the operation of their vehicles. The defendants contend that plaintiffs injuries were actually from a motorcycle accident that he sustained years ago. Prior to trial, the parties settle for $13,000.

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A category of medications known as SGLT2 Inhibitors has recently garnered some negative attention, including some heat from the FDA. These Type 2 diabetes drugs are successful and fairly well known; however the FDA and users are starting to become wary of potential side effects.bloodstream

SGLT2 Inhibitor Side Effects

Users of SGLT2 inhibitors such as Invokana/Farxiga have started reporting that the drug produces an adverse side-effect called ketoacidosis. This condition occurs when acid builds up in the blood, leading to a myriad of issues and complications. Ketoacidosis is typically experienced by those with Type 1 diabetes because their bodies do not produce insulin. Their bodies cannot rely on glucose (sugar) to operate, so they feed on fat cells. If you ever hear people raving about a low carb or Atkins diet, this is the same reason why. The decreased carb intake, forces the body into a similar but different state called ketosis, which transfers the body’s fuel over from carbs and glucose to fat. This is why people can shed weight so quickly on those diets.

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Every aspect of litigation is based on time. Litigants only have a certain number of days to respond to motions, answer discovery, or serve a summons. Perhaps the biggest time related concern in hourglasslitigation is the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the due date for a lawsuit. If a claim is brought outside the statute of limitations, it is generally almost always barred and must be dismissed.  Americans are now appreciating more how harsh limitations can be; seeing Bill Cosby not being asked to account of the allegations against him.

How Statutes of Limitation Work

A statute of limitations should be thought of a more of a time frame and less of a deadline. The right to bring legal action accrues whenever the subject matter of the claim occurred. For example, in a car accident case, the right to bring a claim begins right when the accident occurred. In a medical malpractice case, the period begins when the malpractice occurs or when the victim discovers it. Once that period has officially started, the clock on the potential claim has began ticking. The relevant statute of limitations will then lay out a period during which that claim must be brought. For example, in Maryland, the statute of limitations on most personal injury actions is three years. This means that a lawsuit for a car accident must be brought within the three year period that begins when the accident occurs. If the case is not brought within that time, it can never be brought.

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This blog deals with big personal injury lawsuits across the country. These lawsuits typically involve class actions, multidistrict litigation, and mass torts against corporations for their defective witnessstandproducts, medications, or their general negligence. But we also talk about motor vehicle accident and malpractice claims, too.  For all of these cases, you are almost invariably going to need an expert to testify if you want to get your case to a jury.  Experts are obviously different than the typical fact witness. This post should give you a basic understanding of the nuances of expert witnesses and testimony.

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xarelto2I have written pretty extensively on this blog about the various lawsuits pertaining to the anticoagulant, Xarelto. This drug from Bayer is a controversial one, which has produced a history of bleeding injuries. Despite the risks, Xarelto is a best-selling drug, accounting for a huge amount of money flowing into Bayer’s coffers.

I love quarterly updates from these companies on litigation, because they do give a sometimes honest view as to how these companies view the claims against them.  Bayer’s recent quarterly update discussed some of the realities of the drug.

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3M and one of its subsidiaries, Arizant Healthcare are facing some heat over their Bair Hugger warming blanket. Lawsuits are starting to be filed, suggesting that the company knew that use of the Bair Hugger could expose surgical patients to the risk of infection. Patients who underwent surgery for hip or knee replacements are at greatest risk of infection.

The Bair Huggerbair

The Bair Hugger is actually a fairly interesting and ingenious device. When under anesthesia, the core body temperature drops a few degrees. While only a minor fluctuation, this drop in body temperature actually causes bleeding to increase in addition to longer recovery times. In order to address this, an anesthesiologist developed the Bair Hugger back in the 1980s. The device is a blanket of sorts that wraps around the patient on the operating table, blowing warm air to regulate their body temperature. As a result, a surgical patient’s core temperature can be maintained at exactly 98.6, ensuring minimal bleeding and recovery time.

The device is incredibly popular considering that it sees use in around 90% of all major surgeries. It is estimated that there are around 50,000 Bair Huggers in use around the country, meaning they are somewhat of a mainstay in the modern operating room.

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Much of this blog is dedicated to giving you news on significant court cases that take place throughout the country. These cases are not your typical Judge Judy, small claims type deals; they are lawsuit3pretty important. Typically, big personal injury cases usually manifest themselves in class actions, Multidistrict Litigation, and/or mass torts. Although these types of litigation have a lot in common, they are truly nuanced, meaning it takes an experienced attorney to fully comprehend how they work. But of course, it helps to have a basic understanding in the first place. Here is a little bit about how a mass tort works.

Mass Torts – The Basics

You cannot go around defining “mass tort” without defining”tort.” The law school definition of a tort is a “civil wrong,” committed by one person against another that results in injury. The most common tort that we as personal injury attorneys deal with is negligence; however torts also include assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass, and many more. In most tort cases there is one plaintiff suing one defendant. For example, in a trespass case, the property owner would be suing the trespasser. The same is true of car accident cases where you have the injured victim suing the negligent driver. Of course, the insurance company is usually brought in as a defendant too.

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Once a jury hands down their verdict, the case is over, right? Sometimes, but not always. At the close of trial, both sides generally have the ability to appeal certain issues or things that may notcourt of appeals have gone their way. Most important to remember here though: parties can only appeal legal issues, not factual ones. So an appeal should not be thought of as another opportunity to try a case. Instead, appeals are there to correct mistakes or misapplications of law. Should they determine that a new trial is warranted, appeals courts have the ability to order one. But they are strictly there to determine legal issues, not factual ones.

Framework For Appeals

Every state is different, meaning every court system is different. Since this blog covers issues pertaining to the national personal injury community, I will use the federal appeals process to lay out how things work. Granted, the federal appeals courts share some similarities with many states (especially Maryland), so this should give you an idea of how things work from state to state.

The federal court system is three-tiered. There are the trial courts, which are referred to as Federal District Courts. There are the intermediate appeals courts, which are called Federal Circuit Courts. And the “court of last resort” in the federal system is the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS). The state of Maryland has a similar system with trial courts, an intermediate appeals court, and a state court of last resort.

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Wrongful death? Survival action? What’s the difference?

Whether it stems from medical malpractice or an auto accident, negligence can unfortunately result in death. In most personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff filing the lawsuit is the one that suffered some sort of physical injury. They are suing because they desire compensation for the injuries that they sustained and the costs associated with those injuries.

When the plaintiff dies, although they have sustained harm from another’s negligence, they are obviously not around to sue that party. A wrongful death claim allows those who were affected by that person’s death to sue the person responsible. However, there are two separate types of claims involving deaths: Wrongful Death Claim and Survival Action.

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