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Friday, January 30, 2009

Woman Dies in Auto Accident While Bringing Friend to Hospital

Courtney Yanok, a 35-year-old woman, died from an auto accident in Cleveland. She was a passenger in the vehicle. She and the driver were rushing another friend to the hospital after an accidental overdose of prescription medications.

The car crashed into the exit ramp divider on the highway and turned onto its side. Yanok went into cardiac arrest and died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The woman who had eaten too many pills was treated by the hospital and released.

The vehicle's driver admitted that all three of them had been drinking alcohol before the accident and was arrested on aggravated vehicular homicide charges. It is still uncertain whether Yanok's family will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver.

When you have been seriously injured in an auto accident, it is essential to consult an experienced auto accident attorney. Often, insurance companies will go to great lengths to avoid paying out on auto accident settlements. Hiring an auto accident attorney will help ensure that your rights are defended and that you receive sufficient compensation to cover your medical expenses and any lost wages resulting from the accident.

If you have an auto accident claim, please contact The Cochran Firm today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:53 PM

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Las Vegas Jury Awards Family Millions for Failure to Diagnose Case

A jury has awarded the family of a Nevada woman who died of cancer $2.5 million. They found that doctors had failed to diagnose her cancer, which killed her when she was only 27-years-old. The 2007 death of the woman was blamed primarily on the doctor, who was found to be negligent in caring for the woman and offering substandard treatment, and a nurse at the family practice.

Both the doctor and nurse repeatedly misdiagnosed the young woman’s colon and rectal cancer as hemorrhoids.

The victim worked in retail, and her husband and five-year-old daughter were awarded the money for economic losses for future lost wages.

Failure to diagnose cancer dramatically increases the chances that the sufferer will die as a result of missing out on early treatment. A misdiagnosis, or no diagnosis at all, is primarily through improper blood or tissue sampling or misreading the results in the lab. The most commonly misdiagnosed cancers are:

• Breast
• Cervical
• Colon
• Esophageal
• Prostate

If you or a loved one has had a healthcare provider misdiagnose your cancer as something more benign, please contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at the Cochran Firm today.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 9:09 AM

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Concussion: A Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury

Historically, concussion has been regarded as a temporary injury after the head receives a jarring blow. Usually it stuns the person and in some cases causes temporary unconsciousness. But it has been an invisible injury which no CT scan or MRI could locate.

Now however, the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) at the Boston University School of Medicine is finding the evidence of concussion in brain tissue. They have been studying brain tissue taken posthumously from football players and finding that concussion is indeed a type of traumatic brain injury.

Concussion Changes in the Brain

Concussion has been found to cause severe brain damage, especially in people who sustain repeated concussions. The name for this damage is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and it is throughout the brain and at a deep level within it. It shows up as brown tangles which are very similar in appearance to the damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Throbbing headaches are common. The parts of the brain affected control many functions, of which some are:

  • Emotions
  • Sexuality
  • Breathing
  • Memory
  • Mental acuity
  • Energy level
  • Sleep disorders

These symptoms make it hard to hold a job, maintain a good marriage, and function as a good father.

Not Just Older Players

One of the discoveries which has particularly stunned the CSTE researchers is how early in life the brain damage shows up. About a week ago, they released their study of two documented CTE case: that of former NFL player Tom McHale who died last year at the age of 45; and that of an 18-year-old athlete who had suffered multiple concussions.

The damage in the 45-year-old brain was not so surprising, although researchers were shocked at its resemblance to the 80-year-old brain of an Alzheimer patient. But the damage was also clear in the 18-year-old brain and was identified as the beginnings of CTE.

Besides Tom McHale, CSTE researchers have found CTE damage in the brains of late NFL players:

  • John Grimsley – who died from a gunshot wound in the chest
  • Andre Waters – who committed suicide in 2006 aged 44
  • Mike Webster
  • Justin Strzelczyk
  • Terry Long

Webster, Strzelczyk and Long all died after prolonged depression. McHale was found dead last year, apparently from a drug overdose.

The NFL is now planning its own study of retired NFL players to investigate the long-term effects of concussion.

Severe brain injury is typically sustained in a sudden event such as an auto accident. Now it appears that it may develop gradually with repeated impacts to the head. If you or a loved one have been injured through someone else’s negligence, please contact our personal injury law firm to schedule a free case evaluation.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 2:52 PM

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Tort System Works for Medical Malpractice

One of the important components of the plan to reduce health care costs from (failed) presidential candidate John McCain was to reform the tort system to protect doctors and reduce the cost of defensive medicine. On the surface, tort system reform is predicated on the claim that it is a "jackpot justice" system in which every doctor lives in fear that a frivolous medical malpractice lawsuit could bankrupt him or her. But the truth is that the tort system works, and that both doctors and patients should not only embrace it, but expand its impact.

The tort system, although not perfect, is, according to studies, very good at rewarding people injured as a result of medical errors while protecting doctors from frivolous claims. The most comprehensive study of medical malpractice claims, a 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed, first and foremost, that there is no epidemic of frivolous medical malpractice litigation. In a study of over 1450 closed medical malpractice lawsuits randomly selected from 1984-2004, it was determined that 97 % of all lawsuits filed involved actual documentable injury to the patient. This means that although medical malpractice attorneys are often portrayed as ambulance chasers ready to take any case with the least bit of merit, they actually perform an important role in prescreening lawsuits for merit.

About 63 % of the injuries were the result of actual, documentable medical errors, such as retained foreign body injuries. In cases involving error, about 73 % of people received payment. By contrast, in cases involving no error, only 28 % received payment. Thus, the tort system not only ensures that medical malpractice lawsuits are usually only brought in cases of actual injury, but ensures that doctors who make errors are more likely to pay than those who do not, by a ratio of essentially 3:1.

In addition, a more recent study published in the Iowa Law Review by University of Missouri researchers looked at how the amount of payment received related to the quality of the claim. They found that if a person received good care overall, the average payment for their injury was as little as $7,000, whereas if they received poor care, the average payment for their injury could be over $200,000.

This seems like a system that works. If you have been injured as a result of a doctor's error, the tort system has high odds of getting you payment for that injury, and selecting a lawyer with the resources to thoroughly research your case and pursue it to its end can increase your odds still further. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with the medical malpractice lawyers at The Cochran Firm today.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 7:49 AM

Monday, January 26, 2009

Types of Automobile Accidents


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 6 million car accidents in 2002 in the United States, and every 12 minutes someone dies as a result of a car accident. These are staggering numbers. There are a number of different types of automobile accidents, however, and the following are just a few examples.

Intersection Accidents

Intersection accidents happen when one vehicle's front bumper strikes the other vehicle on one side. This type of accident often results in serious injuries due to the fact that front side airbags do not protect against impact on the side of the car. Intersection collisions happen most often because of motorists neglecting traffic signals or failing to properly obey stop signs.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions are extremely frequent on the highways today. Rear-end collisions occur when the front bumper of one car collides with the rear bumper of another. The variety of driver distractions that exist today contributes greatly to the increase in rear-end collisions. Cell phones are becoming the most common distraction to drivers.

Pedestrian v. Automobile Accidents

Drivers and passengers are not the only ones facing the possibility of injury on the roads. Pedestrians are injured or killed as well. Pedestrians crossing the street outside of crosswalks, visual impairments, and distracted motorists have all been causes of pedestrian accidents on our roads.

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about the types of automobile accidents, please contact the experienced automobile accident attorneys at The Cochran Firm, with numerous offices all over the United States.


posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 7:47 AM

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dust Storm Causes Fatal Auto Accident

A severe dust storm along Interstate 70 in eastern Colorado created a massive auto accident. Eight cars and six trucks were involved in the multi-vehicle pileup. Two people were killed in the accident and many others sustained severe injuries.

A nearby field along the highway had just been plowed, and the strong winds carried the majority of the plowed dirt right onto the highway. The dust in the air was so intense that there was almost no visibility on the road. Paramedics arriving at the scene to help found their eyes caked with dust in a matter of seconds.

Jack-knifed trucks littered the highway after the accident, and two cars had burst into flames. One of the two people killed in the auto accident burned to death in one of these cars. Several injured people were airlifted to a Denver hospital for medical treatment.

Multi-vehicle auto and truck accidents frequently cause massive property damage and serious injuries. When adverse weather conditions such as a severe dust storm reduce visibility to almost zero, these accidents often become even more catastrophic.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, the attorneys at The Cochran Firm can help you receive fair compensation for your damages. Please contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients nationwide.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 9:13 AM

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Questions about Response Raised in Monster Truck Show Death

The tragic accident that killed a six-year-old boy at a monster truck rally last Friday in Tacoma, Washington has raised questions about how it could have happened, as well as the response that followed.

The boy was killed when metal debris, possibly part of a drive shaft, came off a monster truck called "Natural High" as it was doing donuts. Witnesses have described a surreal and gruesome scene that followed the parts flying off the truck. As the six-year-old was hit in the head and a man sitting nearby was hit in the neck by the metal parts, people around them began to get someone in charge to help. They threw bottles, cups and food onto the field to try to notify those in charge.

The family of the boy, who was lying motionless and bleeding profusely, was in shock, while event staff simply stood there and watched. Meanwhile, it took several minutes for emergency personnel to get to the injured. And all this time, the monster truck show continued. This last part has upset those who were in attendance that evening. They believe the show should have at least been paused and an announcement made, in case a doctor was sitting nearby. However, many left in droves when word spread what happened. The injured parties were finally taken to the hospital where the boy was pronounced dead.

Further hampering the investigation is that at least one fan grabbed parts from the truck, including a part that is circular and a foot in diameter.
While the Tacoma Dome, where the rally was held, and organizer Feld Motor Sports have issued statements of condolence, they have not cancelled the remaining shows set for this weekend.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as the result of an automobile accident, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Cochran Firm. We serve clients nationwide.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 12:34 PM

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quadriplegic Man Sues Volkswagen

In New Hampshire on Christmas eve of 2002 there was a crash between two cars which had been passing each other. One car was a 1999 Volkswagen Jetta containing an engaged couple returning home from a party. The driver, one Rebecca Beisswenger, passed the other car, which then sped past her in a no-passing zone where the road curved.

Beisswenger swerved and lost control of her car, which skidded off the road and flipped over onto an embankment. It then rolled over several times against the hillside and fell back onto the highway. Her fiance, one Owen Milne in the passenger seat, was thrown against the roof and the support beams holding up the roof on his side collapsed.

Milne's neck was compressed in the impact and his vertebrae were fractured. He became a quadriplegic. He sued the driver of the other car and obtained $2 million in settlement. He also obtained $300,000 from Beisswenger. After this crash they had gone ahead with their wedding plans but their marriage did not last long.

Lawsuit Claims Defective Jetta Design

He also sued Volkswagen. His suit alleges that the Jetta has faulty roofs and seatbelts. He was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash but it evidently did not prevent his head from impacting the car's roof in the rollover. The suit claims that the Jetta is not crashworthy.

Volkswagen lawyers have responded by blaming the "cat and mouse" game the two cars were playing, and stating that the Jetta is well-designed and meets or exceeds all industry and federal government safety standards. They claim that Milne's spinal injuries happened before the roof collapsed and were caused by the momentum of his body pushing his head against the roof as the car slammed against the hillside.

The trial is scheduled to begin today and last until February 6.

If you have been injured because of a defectively-designed vehicle, we can help. Please call or email our personal injury law firm and one of our experienced defective product attorneys will be glad to give you a free consultation.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 11:08 AM

Nationwide Chains Recall Products Containing Peanut Butter


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today a recall of products containing peanut butter in an attempt to control a salmonella outbreak that has already killed 6 people and sickened nearly 500 others in 43 states. The peanut butter comes from a Georgia plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America, which produces both peanut butter and peanut paste not for direct sale to consumers, but for use by other corporations to produce peanut-butter containing products. This makes the product's potential impact both farther-reaching and harder to gauge. It may also make it harder for you to know whether a product you purchased is subject to recall. Affected products were produced by General Mills, Kroger, Safeway, Hyvee, Clif Bar, and many others.


Peanut butter in jars is not part of the recall, but practically every other type of product containing peanut butter or peanut flavor. In order to inform consumers whether their product is included in the recall, the FDA has posted a searchable list of recalled products on its website. If you are in doubt, the FDA recommends that you avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream, and other foods containing peanut butter until more information is available. Instead, consider making peanut butter cookies at home from peanut butter in jars, which is considered safe.


If you or someone you love has been sickened as a result of the distribution of this defective consumer product, schedule a defective product consultation with a product liability lawyer at the Cochran Firm today. With offices in nearly 30 cities nationwide, the Cochran Firm combines nationwide resources with local reach to ensure that you receive full compensation for your defective product injury.


posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 6:59 AM

Monday, January 19, 2009

What Is Personal Injury Law?

In order to fully understand personal injury law, or tort law, one must first understand the term “personal injury.” A personal injury exists where one suffers physical or emotional injury as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.

Personal injury laws are on the books in order to protect the public from the effects others’ actions may have on their lives. Physical injuries often result after car accidents, slip and falls, trucking accidents, or because of defective medical products. Emotional injuries, however, are also included within personal injury law, and you may be entitled to receive compensation even if you have not been physically injured. Emotional injuries, for example, may be suffered due to libel, slander, or defamation of character.


Certain elements must be proven in order to have a valid personal injury claim, including:

· Duty. The individual or entity being sued in a personal injury case must have had a duty to the plaintiff.

· Breach. Once it is found that a duty did exist, a breach of that duty must be proven. A breach of duty simply means that, given the specific circumstances, the individual or entity failed to exercise reasonable care. The standard of reasonable care is established on a case-by-case basis, depending on both the defendant and the circumstances.

· Causation. In order to prove causation, it must be shown that the injury the plaintiff is claiming to have suffered was a direct result of the breach of duty by the defendant. In other words, if the plaintiff would have suffered the injury even if the defendant had not breached his or her duty, causation does not exist. This is the most difficult element to prove in a personal injury case.

· Damages. A plaintiff must be able to show that damages were incurred as a result of the injury suffered. Damages may include, but are certainly not limited to, monetary damages, such medical bills or loss of future wages, or emotional damages, such as the loss of quality of life.

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about personal injury law, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm, operating 27 offices in 16 different states.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 9:38 AM

Friday, January 16, 2009

Computer Glitches Wreaking Havoc in VA Hospitals

As you may have noticed in your doctor’s office, paper charts are gradually being replaced with electronic charts. In an effort to minimize the number of medical mistakes made due to problems with paper information (poor handwriting, difficult to read prescriptions, etc.), many offices, clinics, hospitals and VA facilities are instituting all-electronic medical charting. But something terrible and potentially-deadly is happening: computer glitches are causing patients to have completely inaccurate information in their medical record.

Notably, patients at Veterans’ Administration Hospitals in the United States have been given incorrect doses, have had treatments delayed, and have had their vitals and drug allergies show up incorrectly due to maybe seconds-long computer glitches. Imagine being in an emergency room with chest pain and having the ER doc look at his computer for your stats and they are not even yours! Faulty displays of electronic medical records will prove to be deadly if something is not done to correct this problem immediately.

The VA hospitals’ recent glitches involved vital signs, lab results and active medications showing up on the computer screen, but they belonged to another patient. Nearly one-third of the VA’s 153 facilities reported seeing some kind of error in patient charts. This number is most likely even higher because some facilities may not have reported glitches yet.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a medical mistake, please contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at The Cochran Firm, serving clients all across the United States.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 9:21 AM

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Automobile Accident Lawsuits

Anyone who’s been involved in an automobile accident knows that you have to make some critical decisions immediately, at a time when you may not be thinking as clearly as you should. Statements you make in a state of confusion, fear, or anger can come back to haunt you, so say as little as possible at the scene of your accident.

Sometimes injuries aren’t apparent immediately after an accident. They may develop over several days time. Telling an officer or someone else that you are not hurt may not be accurate but will be documented.

To make matters worse, there is much you need to learn about the legalities and consequences of your accident and any injuries that resulted. While you have only a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit under your states' statute of limitations, bear in mind that other parties involved in this accident also have that amount of time to file a lawsuit. The full cost of someone’s injuries may incur over a lifetime, beyond the time allowed to file a lawsuit. If you are the injured party you will want to have your rights protected from the moment of the accident.

By seeing an attorney as soon after the accident as possible, you will be taking steps to collect and preserve evidence that may otherwise disappear. This evidence could be used to establish your claim or to protect you if a claim is filed against you. Since evidence begins to disappear as soon as the vehicles are moved from the scene, shortly after the accident occurs, statements documented by the officer are often the most complete information available regarding the accident. A good accident and injury lawyer can do much to preserve evidence that protects your rights to compensation.

If you have been in an automobile accident and feel you have a valid legal claim, please contact The Cochran Firm today to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced auto accident attorneys.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 9:20 AM

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In Need of a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you are reading this blog, you may be in need of a personal injury lawyer. Perhaps you have been in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or boating accident. Maybe you slipped on ice in front of a business and injured your back. Perhaps you used a medical device that ended up causing more health issues than it solved. Regardless of what has brought you to this website, The Cochran Firm wants you to know that we have the knowledge, experience, and resources it takes to fight to get you the justice and compensation you deserve.

When you or a loved one suffers due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may think that they will compensate you for your injury. This is typically not the case. Many people do not take responsibility for their actions, and you cannot even count on insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve following an accident and injury. Insurance companies will usually do whatever they can to take advantage of you and pay you the least amount of money possible. Insurance companies also know how to get statements from you that will hurt if you ever decide to sue. To prevent all of this from happening, it is imperative you contact a personal injury attorney following your accident.

Experienced personal injury attorneys understand how to build your case, how to negotiate with insurance companies and how to present your case at trial, if necessary. The Cochran Firm has the experience, the know-how and the resources to fight your case and get you the compensation and justice you deserve. Please contact one of our 27 personal injury law offices in 16 states today to schedule your confidential consultation.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 9:24 AM

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Car Accident Victim? We Can Help

We often see those commercials in which a personal injury lawyer encourages us to contact him or her if we have been injured in an automobile accident, but how many of us really think to pick up the phone and see if we have a case? Probably not very many.

We don’t call because we think our injury was not serious enough, or we don’t call because the accident took place several months ago, or we don’t call because maybe we were at fault. But without consulting a knowledgeable personal injury attorney, you cannot know if you have a valid legal claim or not. An experienced car accident attorney can evaluate your case and advise you of your rights. You should never assume that you do not have a case.

Despite substantial improvements in automobile design and advances in the design of roadways, automobile accidents are still quite common. It is estimated that each one of us will be involved in at least one car accident in our lifetime. However, not every car accident will result in litigation. For instance, if nobody is injured or if the injuries are very minor, all claims may be resolved directly through the drivers’ insurance companies. In accidents where the damage and injury are severe, most likely a lawsuit will follow.

The following are the most common causes of car accidents:

Driver error
Drug/alcohol use
Inclement weather
Cell phone use
Road conditions
Vehicle defects

If you or your loved one has been injured or killed in an automobile accident, you may have a valid legal claim. The automobile accident attorneys at The Cochran Firm, with 27 offices in 16 states, will evaluate your case and advise you of how to proceed. Please contact one of our personal injury law offices today to schedule your confidential consultation.

posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 9:26 AM

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The Cochran Firm handles Civil Litigation and Criminal Defense claims for clients throughout the United States of America. The information on this website does not constitute legal advice nor form an attorney-client relationship.Please contact The Cochran Firm today to schedule a free consultation.

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