About Jamie Mulholland

Here are my most recent posts

Workplace Injuries are on the Rise.

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics showed that there’s a long way to go when it comes to workplace safety. From 2015 to 2016, there was a seven percent increase in fatal injuries and, for the first time in nearly a decade, workplace fatalities surpassed 5,000. As reported by the Insurance Journal, this is the third consecutive annual increase in workplace fatalities and the largest increase since 2008.

Here’s how the statistics panned out. Of the 5,190 deaths reported in 2016, transportation incidents were the leading cause of death, followed by workplace violence. There were increases in fatalities from exposure to harmful substances or environments (22 percent) and in deaths related to overdoses (at least 25 percent). There was also an increase in the number of overdoses.

Fatal injuries were up in various industries, too, including leisure and hospitality which, with an increase of 32 percent, reached an all-time high. The logging industry also recorded an industry high at 135.9 deaths per 100,000 workers. Protective service occupations, such as law enforcement, experienced a 32 percent increase in fatalities.

“America’s workers deserve better,” noted Loren Sweatt, deputy assistant secretary for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). She noted that the government will use a combination of enforcement, compliance assistance, education, and training and outreach to help combat these increases.

If you or a loved one was injured in a work accident in Pennsylvania, or if a loved one was killed, there are actions you can take. Even though workers injured on the job often turn to workers’ compensation, if that injury resulted from a defective product or someone’s negligence, you may also be able to recover lost wages or medical expenses through a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact us to learn more: send us a message online or call 215-751-0100.

Train Derailments Prompt Federal Call for Sleep Apnea Testing

Pennsylvania has seen its fair share of train derailments in recent years, including the fatal Amtrak crashes in and around Philadelphia in 2015 and 2017. Causes range from human error to safety lapses, mechanical failure, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea was the probable cause of two recent New York-area derailments, prompting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to call for “the federal government to regulate the testing of the disorder as it relates to commuter railroads,” as reported by Newsday recently. According to the article, Schumer criticized the Department of Transportation for failing to require sleep apnea testing, noting that the cost of the crashes far outweighs the cost of testing. One person died and more than 200 people were injured in the New York area derailments.

If you have been a victim of a train or vehicle accident and would like to speak to an attorney, we offer a free initial consultation. Contact us online or call 215-751-0100 to arrange an appointment.

Firm Newsletter: February, 2018

Click here to download a printable pdf of this newsletter.

VALENTINE’S DAY ISSUE

Jilted Bride

We represented the family of a bride whose husband-to-be called off the ceremony the night before the wedding. When the groom was a no-show at the rehearsal dinner, his friends and family
hunted him down, and he admitted that he didn’t want to go through with the wedding, which was then cancelled. The bride’s family had spent over $85,000 up to that point (gown, country club banquet room, food, flowers, photographer, etc.) and were able to only recover a portion of that amount. We filed suit alleging that the bride’s family paid for the wedding in exchange for the event to take place as planned. The lawsuit alleged that the groom’s refusal amounted to his breaching that agreement and gave rise to his responsibility to pay for all of their losses. A claim for punitive damages was included in the suit. Initially, the groom asserted that the bride’s family paid for the wedding simply because they wanted their daughter to be married, and there was no responsibility to pay the family back. The matter was confidentially settled 3 days after the lawsuit was filed.

Doctor’s Negligence Leads to Impotence

We represented a married Philadelphia couple (Mike and Mary) in their late 40’s in a lawsuit against their family physician. Mike was a machinist in relatively good health and Mary worked at home taking care of their 3 children. At Mike’s routine physical when he was 45, the doctor did a PSA blood test to test for prostate cancer (a standard test for men of his age). The doctor told Mike that “if anything comes back positive, we’ll let you know.” The results did, in fact, come back positive, but the doctor misplaced the paperwork and never notified Mike or Mary. Five years later, the mistake was discovered. By that time, the cancer had progressed so that the tumor was interfering with the nerves around the prostate; this required the surgical removal of the nerves necessary for an erection, along with the removal of the prostate. The effect of this 5 year delay was twofold: 1) the cancer metastasized and could spread to other organs, and 2) the removal of the nerves caused impotence that was only remedied through expensive procedures that Mike’s insurance would not pay for. We filed a medical malpractice action and our oncologist and urologist experts stated that the nerve bundles would not have been removed had the cancer been detected five years earlier. The case settled during jury selection for a confidential amount that enabled Mike and Mary to afford the procedures and renew their intimacy.

Arbitrator Awards 50% of Verdict to Spouse

Our client was 60 when he visited an outpatient surgery center for a procedure to correct snoring. Due to the doctors’ failure to properly monitor the patient during and after surgery, he suffered brain damage from a lack of oxygen, something that was corroborated by the many experts we brought in on the case. Our client was an first generation Italian immigrant who ran his own
barber shop. After the surgery, he was unable to feed himself, bathe or even go to the bathroom. His wife, also an Italian immigrant, took it upon herself to provide round-the-clock care for her husband. The arbitrator recognized the devastating toll the injury had on her and awarded her 50% of the verdict.

Loss of Consortium
Under Pennsylvania law, Loss of Consortium is an actionable injury for the loss of love, sexual relations, and services of a spouse due to injury for which money damages may be awarded. These types of claims arise out of  personal injury cases such as medical malpractice, negligence, and wrongful death. This is a legal claim that is made by the spouse who did not suffer the actual physical injury or death.

The Return of Love!

Did you know that the world-famous “Love” statue was on the move this week? It’s returning to its home in – where else? – Love Park, Philadelphia. It will be a welcome sight downtown.

Did you also know… we LOVE working with referrals? Call us and let’s make a date… to talk about that injury case we can handle for you.

Federal Government Penalizes 32 PA Hospitals for Allowing Injuries

The state of Pennsylvania reduced Medicare payments for 32 hospitals to penalize them for high rates of infections and injuries, according to a recent news report. The article cited that hospitals were fined for infections related to catheter and intravenous lines, certain surgeries, MRSA and c-diff infections, and injuries such as bed sores and hip fractures from hospital falls.

While such penalties are intended to encourage hospitals to prioritize reduction of the incidents, the story went on to note that seventeen of the hospitals fined had also been penalized the prior year.

An analysis by Kaiser Health News shared that hospitals that treat lower income patients are more likely to be fined, calling the penalties “controversial” because “hospitals that treat sicker patients and those that do a better job of identifying infections” are punished. Patient advocates argue that while the system is not perfect, it helps hold hospitals accountable.

If you have been a victim of what you believe to be injury from medical malpractice, contact us online or call 215-751-0100 to discuss your legal options.

Firm Newsletter: January, 2018

Click here to download a printable pdf of this newsletter.

SNOW AND ICE ISSUE

Black Ice = $200,000 Verdict

We represented Helen Drugan, a youthful and energetic 85-year-old woman who was employed full time as a sales associate and, despite her age, worked long hours and had an extremely active social life. She was also the primary caretaker for her 67-year-old son, who had some health issues. On the day of the accident, she parked her car and stepped onto a parking lot that was very slippery. There had not been any recent precipitation, but our expert later established that the slope of the parking lot caused accumulated snow to melt during the day and freeze overnight. We also argued to the jury that the property managers knew that Helen would come to work as early as 5A.M. because she would personally greet the security people every day. The defendants asserted that the parking lot was safe and Helen fell on “black ice,” claiming they could not be responsible for such a condition. The jury disagreed, awarding $200,000 for Helen’s injury, which included a broken arm and various neck and back injuries.

Loss of Finger Results in $650,000 Arbitration Award

We represented “Jamie W.” who was employed as a private sanitation hauler. As part of his job, Jamie went to various businesses and apartment complexes to unload large dumpsters. At a particular apartment complex, Jamie had to maneuver the dumpster into the parking lot so it could be emptied. On one very cold day, as he was pulling a heavy dumpster toward the trash truck, Jamie’s feet slipped due to a patch of ice. The dumpster, still moving, crushed his hand. When Jamie removed his glove he discovered part of his finger was entirely severed. During discovery, the property manager admitted that there various potholes in the parking lot that would freeze during the cold weather but that nothing had been done to address the problem. Jamie, only 24 years of age at the time, needed a prosthetic finger on his injured hand. We ensured that the company that made the prosthetic address its duration (3-5 years) and projected the costs for replacement over our client’s life expectancy. Upon submission to binding arbitration, an award of $650,00 was returned in Jamie’s favor.

Water Flows Down Hill

We represented a pedestrian that was walking the steep hills of Manayunk. As she was walking, she fell due to a patch of ice in front of a property that was actually no longer in business. We had originally thought that we would not be able to help the woman because the property where the fall occurred was vacant and carried no insurance coverage. However, when we brought in a property expert, it was discovered that another business owner negligently allowed water to stream downhill and accumulate onto this vacant property. It was then that we were able to establish that the property owner up the hill from the vacant property caused this dangerous condition. We secured a significant confidential settlement for our client.

THIS ONE TIME, IN COURT…
Incredible (and sometimes downright unbelievable) stories of things that happened with cases.
(Really, they did.)

#meetoo Hits the Courtroom

We recently were involved in a trial in Philadelphia over a failure to accurately diagnose a fracture. The case hinged on whether a particular X-ray was read correctly. We retained a board-certified radiologist who happened to be a woman. The other side retained a male radiologist.

During the trial, the defense attorney refused to refer to our expert as “Doctor,” instead calling her “Miss” or “Maam,” yet always referring to their own male exert as “Doctor.” After lengthy questioning, our expert asked the defense attorney why he refused to call her “Doctor.”

He was stopped in his tracks and had no good answer. The jury got the point because they were all nodding their heads in approval of our expert. Seems like that #metoo movement is everywhere.

Uber and Lyft Accident Coverages

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft continue to grow in popularity in Pennsylvania. Their increasing use has led to a new law about the insurance coverages needed in the event of an accident, according to an article in The Legal Intelligencer.

Under PA Senate Bill 984, transportation network companies have a responsibility to make sure their drivers and passengers are covered by insurance. Either the company or the driver can provide that insurance, but it has to be in addition to the driver’s personal policy, noted the article. The transportation company also must cover any gaps in insurance.

The law requires certain levels of coverages for various situations, such as when passengers are present or when they are not but the driver is logged into the transportation network. At minimum, the driver must be covered by a bodily liability policy of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident and $25,000 in property damage. When passengers are present, there must be $500,000 for death, bodily injury and property damage, $5,000 in first party medical benefits for the driver, and $25,000 for passengers or pedestrians.

If you or a loved one are involved in an Uber or Lyft motor vehicle accident, we offer a free initial consultation. Contact us online or call 215-751-0100.

Opioid Crisis in the Nation – and Pennsylvania

The nation’s opioid crisis seems to be an unprecedented level with no remedy in sight.

In fact, a seemingly ironclad case against one of the country’s largest drug distributors hit a wall due to the government’s reluctance to prosecute, reported a recent 60 Minutes segment.  The company in question, McKesson Corporation, was apparently distributing millions of highly addictive opioid pills to pharmacies, including shady Internet operations, without due diligence, according to the segment. Yet the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was unable to hold the company fully accountable.

Nine DEA field divisions and 12 U.S. attorneys worked on the case for two years. Special agent David Schiller and his team sought to “fine the company more than a billion dollars, revoke registrations to distribute controlled substances and put a McKesson executive behind bars,” reported correspondent Bill Whitaker. But the DEA attorneys did not want to take on the lawsuit. Instead, McKesson was fined just $150 million.

It would appear that no community is immune from the opioid crisis. We are currently representing the family of a college student, Cody Albert, who died tragically from an overdose. Albert went into respiratory arrest after ingesting a fentanyl patch prescribed for a friend’s mother. The friend, Zachary Ross, was a known addict, yet obtained the prescription from a local pharmacy anyway. “He is among five people who since 2011 have been charged in state or federal court with supplying drugs that led to fatal overdoses in Lackawanna County,” reported the Times-Tribune.

If you have a wrongful death matter you would like to discuss, we are happy to offer a free initial consultation. Just contact us online or call our office at 215-751-0100.

Elder Abuse Act Passed

The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017 was signed by President Donald Trump in October after passage by voice vote in the House and Senate.

The Act addressed goals championed by the American Bar Association (ABA) and its Commission on Law and Aging, whose research showed alarming trends in elder abuse in the form of financial exploitation; emotional, psychological, emotional or physical abuse; and neglect. Commission research also showed that just one in 14 cases of abuse is reported to authorities.

The new legislation provides for:

  • The designation of at least one U.S. attorney in every federal judicial district to prosecute elder abuse cases
  • Training on the investigation and prosecution of such cases
  • Appointment of an elder justice coordinator in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection
  • Data collection and coordination
  • Enhanced criminal penalties for telemarketing or email marketing fraud
  • Provide for victim assistance by the DOJ

While all of the above involve for criminal prosecution, certain instances of elder abuse may provide an opportunity to secure damages in a civil lawsuit. To schedule a free, private consultation with an experienced Pennsylvania elder abuse attorney, call 215-751-0100 or e-mail us anytime.

Are Schools Liable for Sports Injuries?

It’s sports season at schools around the country. As sports teams kick into high gear, so do the possible sports-related injuries. When players are injured, should the school be held responsible? One recent decision said “no.”

In the incident cited by the lawsuit, Sheldon Mann was playing football for the Palmerton Area School District when he was hit hard, reported the Daily Item. Despite showing concussion-like symptoms, he was put back in the game where he suffered another violent hit. Sheldon was ultimately diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

Sheldon’s parents sued the school and the coach. They claimed that, by requiring him to continue to play after the first hit, the coach violated his “constitutional right to bodily integrity,” with the article noting that “[t]he law provides that a local agency such as a school district could be liable under the constitution for creating a danger to a citizen who, like a student, was under the control of a government body.”

The lower court ruled in favor of the coach and school, dismissing the case. When brought to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the article noted, the judge ruled that, “while there was ‘ample evidence’ to suggest the coach was guilty under a state-created danger theory of liability, the parents and student still could not prevail” due to “qualified immunity,” meaning in 2011, when the injury happened, the dangers of concussions were not fully known.

Do you know someone with an injury that you believe is the result of someone’s negligence? Contact Shaffer & Gaier online for a free consultation, or call us at 215-751-0100.

Research Discovers a Way to Prevent Infections in Patients with Spinal Cord Injuries

A new study in Nature Neuroscience has identified why the immune system tends to shut down in patients with spinal cord injuries, opening them up to potentially deadly infections.

Led by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the eight-year, multi-site study found that nerve pathways between the spinal cord and the adrenal glands, along with a hormone-mediated link, contribute to abnormally low white blood cells and spontaneous pneumonia. “This could lead to new treatments to prevent or reduce infections in patients suffering with these injuries without antibiotics, thereby reducing disability and mortality,” said principal investigator Dr. Jan M. Schwab, Ohio State Neurological Institute.

If you have a loved one with a spinal cord injury that you think may have come from someone else’s negligence, we welcome you to contact us online or call us at 215-751-0100.

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Our Latest News Posts

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Nearly 50,000 patients die annually from traumatic brain injuries. Now a new study led by the University of Pennsylvania reveals that tiny blood vessels in the brain can offer clues to better treatment, according to an article from UPI’s Health … [Read More...]

Why Do ‘Slip and Fall’ Accidents Happen?

From misjudging steps to sliding on oily or wet surfaces, there are many causes of “slip and fall” accidents. But there’s one cause that’s highly preventable, according to a study by insurance provider CNA—and that is the type of flooring. The … [Read More...]