Personal Injury Costs $671 Billion Dollars In The United States

Personal Injury Costs

Personal Injury Costs In the U.S.

According to two new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) reports, for 2013 $671 billion were the total costs of personal injuries and violence in the United States. Fatal injury costs was $214 billion and nonfatal injury costs were over $457 billion

The numbers for the United States are staggering, injuries, including all causes of unintentional and violence-related injuries combined, accounted for 59% of all deaths among persons ages 1–44 years of age. To put that into perspective that is more deaths than non-communicable diseases and infectious diseases combined. About 27 million people are treated in emergency departments and released, over 3 million people are hospitalized and more than 192,000 die as a result of unintentional and violence related injuries each year.

Deb Houry, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control is reported as stating “The magnitude of costs associated with injury underscores the need for effective prevention. It is crucial that communities and states increase efforts to implement evidence-based programs and policies to prevent injuries and violence to reduce not only the pain and suffering of victims, but also the considerable costs to society.”

The two studies include lifetime medical and work loss costs for injury related deaths and injuries treated and released in hospitals and emergency departments, and provide costs by age, gender, and injury intent. Other key findings include:

Men accounted for 78 percent of fatal injury costs ($166.7 billion) and 63 percent of nonfatal injury costs ( $287.5 billion).

More than 50 percent of the total medical costs and work loss costs related to personal injury were attributable unintentional injuries, which I interpret mean negligent acts or omissions ($129.7 billion). The other causes of death included suicide ($50.8 billion) and homicide ($26.4 billion).

Poisonings from drugs, including prescription drug overdoses, accounted for 27 percent of fatal injury costs, transportation caused / related deaths account accounted for 23 percent of the costs and deaths related to firearm use accounted for 22 percent of costs.

Costs, for personal injuries that required hospitalization in 2013, were $289.7 billion. The costs for injuries that were treated and released in hospital and emergency departments were $167.1 billion.

Slip and Fall / Trip and Fall

Slip and Fall / Trip Fall Can Cause Fatal Injuries

Slip and Falls and Trip and Falls account for 37 percent of costs associated with emergency room care. Transportation-related personal injuries, automobile accidents, car crashes, motorcycle accidents, public transportation accidents accounted for 21 percent of the costs associated with emergency department treatment for nonfatal injuries.

The chart below shows that personal injury is the #1 killer of children in the United States.

Personal Injury - Children

Personal Injury – Children

As you can see the economic toll associated with personal injuries is staggering. In addition to costs associated with accidents, the human toll is even greater, considering the pain and suffering the victims and their family goes through. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is important that we all act in way that helps reduce and prevent injuries whether the result of negligence, violence or unfortunate incidences.

As an experienced Pasadena personal injury attorney, I know how accidents can cause severe personal injuries, for more than three decades, The Law Offices of Richard M. Katz has been her to help. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury or the loss of a loved one, for a complimentary assessment, kindly do not hesitate to provide me a call. 626-796-6333 or call me through my site http://www.lawyer-personal-injury-law.com.

 

Do I Have A Case? Premises Liability

Who is responsible for accidents that occur on or around buildings and grounds?

We often refer to personal injury accidents that are caused by a defective condition or a dangerous condition on property, either outside, such as a sidewalk or parking lot or inside a building, as “premises liability” accidents. These premises liability accidents can occur at commercial buildings (stores or offices), commercial venues (amusement parks or water parks) residences (private homes or rentals), or on public property (parks, streets, or public transportation facilities).

Many circumstances can cause a dangerous condition on premises, such as — unsafe design, poor construction or poor building materials, improper maintenance, improperly managed amusement rides. Dangerous conditions on premises can lead to many types of personal injury accidents including slip and fall, trip and fall, being hit by an item falling on you or any number of ways.

It may surprise you to learn that in order to recover for personal injuries suffered on another’s property you must prove that they were negligent in the use and management of their property. Sometimes the property owner / possessor of property is responsible and sometimes not. Premises liability personal injury claims are very dependent on the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.

Generally the owner or possessor of a property has a duty to anyone who enters the property not to expose that individual an unreasonable risk of harm because of condition, construction or design of the property. The logic for the rule is understandable: The owner or possessor of the premises has complete control over of the premises and is in the best position to maintain and control the premises. A visitor at someone else’s property has a right to assume the property is in a reasonable safe condition for its intended use and purpose.

Nevertheless, a visitor must use the property properly. This can be somewhat moderated depending upon the age of the visitor. However, as a rule the conduct of the injured person can be an issue. By way of example, if a person gets injured while acting in an unexpected, unauthorized, or dangerously careless way, the property owner or occupier will probably not be responsible for the injury.

Under California law the owner (owner, possessor, renter, governmental entity) of a premise or location is not “automatically responsible” for the injuries suffered by a customer or a pedestrian. The California Supreme Court in Ortega v. Kmart (2001) 26 Cal.4th 1200 [114 Cal.Rptr.2d 470, 36 P.3d 11] set forth the law for slip and fall / trip and fall claims. Ortega involved a store in which a patron suffered an injury because of a slip and fall accident.

The Court stated that “It is well established in California that although a store owner is not an insurer of the safety of its patrons. (Ortega, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 1205.” The Court went on to state “Because the owner is not the insurer of the visitor’s personal safety, the owner’s actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition is a key to establishing its liability.” (Ortega, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 1206). The Court further held that “Courts have also held that where the plaintiff relies on the failure to correct a dangerous condition to prove the owner’s negligence, the plaintiff has the burden of showing that the owner had notice of the defect in sufficient time to correct it.” (Ortega, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 1206.)

In the case of Getchell v. Rogers Jewelry (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 381, 385 [136 Cal.Rptr.3d 641], the Court held that “Generally speaking, a property owner must have actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition before liability will be imposed. In the ordinary slip and fall case, . . . the cause of the dangerous condition is not necessarily linked to an employee. . .”

If you have been injured because of a premises accident at a commercial building (store or office), or at a commercial venue (amusement park or water park), or at a residence (private home or rental), or on public property (park, street, or public transportation facility), you may be thinking “Do I have a case?”

Consider this an owner / possessor of property will be found negligent in the use or maintenance of their property if 1) a condition on the property created an unreasonable risk of harm; 2) the owner / possessor knew or, through the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about the dangerous condition; and 3) the owner / possessor failed to repair the condition, protect against harm from the condition, or give adequate warning of the condition.

The Law Offices of Richard M. Katz has had many successful claims against property owners over the years we have had successful results against governmental entities, private homeowners, builders, amusement parks and venues. Some of these cases resulted in death and serious injury. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed possibly on someone else’s premises please give me a call for a free consultation. Please contact Richard M. Katz, Esq. at 626-796-6333 so that my office can help protect your legal rights.

Visit us at our website at  http://www.lawyer-personal-injury-law.com

UP TO 40 PERCENT OF ANNUAL DEATHS FROM EACH OF FIVE LEADING CAUSES ARE PREVENTABLE

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, nearly 900,000 Americans die prematurely from the five leading causes of death . However, the Centers for Disease Control estimate that a large percentage of those deaths 20 percent to 40 percent from each cause could be prevented. The percentage varies greatly from state to state.

In the United States the five leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries. Collectively they caused 63 percent of all U.S. deaths in 2010. Unintentional injuries include car accidents, slip and fall accidents and other personal injury accidents. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) seminal study of preventable medical errors estimated as many as 98,000 people die every year from medical negligence and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

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The report, in a recent issue of the CDC’s weekly journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examined premature deaths (before age 80) from each cause for each state from 2008 to 2010. The authors then calculated the number of deaths from each cause that would have been prevented if all states had same death rate as the states with the lowest rates.

The study suggests that, if all states had the lowest death rate observed for each cause, it would be possible to prevent:

34 percent of premature deaths from heart diseases, prolonging about 92,000 lives
21 percent of premature cancer deaths, prolonging about 84,500 lives
39 percent of premature deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, prolonging about 29,000 lives
33 percent of premature stroke deaths, prolonging about 17,000 lives
39 percent of premature deaths from unintentional injuries, prolonging about 37,000 lives

 

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH was quoted in a CDC article as stating “As a doctor, it is heartbreaking to lose just one patient to a preventable disease or injury – and it is that much more poignant as the director of the nation’s public health agency to know that far more than a hundred thousand deaths each year are preventable,”. “With programs such as the CDC’s Million Hearts initiative, we are working hard to prevent many of these premature deaths.”

Not surprisingly, there are many modifiable risk factors that are largely responsible for each of the leading causes of death, the CDC cites :

Heart disease risks include tobacco use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, poor diet, overweight, and lack of physical activity.

Cancer risks include tobacco use, poor diet, lack of physical activity, overweight, sun exposure, certain hormones, alcohol, some viruses and bacteria, ionizing radiation, and certain chemicals and other substances.

Chronic respiratory disease risks include tobacco smoke, second-hand smoke exposure, other indoor air pollutants, outdoor air pollutants, allergens, and exposure to occupational agents.

Stroke risks include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, overweight, previous stroke, tobacco use, alcohol use, and lack of physical activity.

Unintentional injury risks include lack of seatbelt use, lack of motorcycle helmet use, unsafe consumer products, drug and alcohol use (including prescription drug misuse), exposure to occupational hazards, and unsafe home and community environments.

As you can see by making changes in personal behaviors many of the risks are avoidable. Others risk factors are attributable to disparate conditions in social, demographic, environmental, economic, and geographic attributes of the local areas in which people work and live.

The study authors note that if health disparities were eliminated, as called for in Healthy People 2020 all states would be closer to achieving the lowest possible death rates for the leading causes of death.

Harold W. Jaffe, MD, the study’s senior author and CDC’s associate director for science was quoted in the CDC article as saying “We think that this report can help states set goals for preventing premature death from the conditions that account for the majority of deaths in the United States,” He was further quoted as saying “Achieving these goals could prolong the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.”

One can learn from these findings and change their and their family’s lifestyle for a healthier life.

Can I Sue? Can I Win?

Today I would like to talk about a frequent question that people ask of me regarding personal injury claims. The question that I often hear is “Mr. Katz, can I sue?”  An easy question to ask but not always an easy question to answer.

The first question that needs to be answered is what type of claim do you have?
An Automobile Accident? Car Accident? A Slip and Fall incident? Defective Product? Medical Malpractice / Medical Negligence? Kaiser Malpractice / Kaiser Negligence?

The First Question That Need to Be Answered is What Type of Claim Do You Have?
Do you have an automobile accident or car accident claim?
Do you have a slip and fall incident?
Do you have a claim regarding a defective product?
Do you have a medical malpractice / medical negligence claim?
Do you have a claim against Kaiser Permanente for malpractice / negligence?

Depending upon the type of claim you have, the facts of your incident greatly affect the strength or weakness of your claim. Some cases, depending upon facts, require the use of expert testimony to establish liability, this is overwhelmingly true in medical malpractice cases and defective product cases.

Do I Have a Strong Personal Injury Case?
In a personal injury action based upon negligence you must prove the elements of your claim to a judge or a jury. If any one element is missing, you cannot win.  By way of example, even if you can prove that the defendant was negligent but you did not suffer any injury  you will lose your case.

Basically the elements that you must prove at time of trial are:
Duty
Breach of the Duty
Causation both Legal and Proximate
Damages

These four elements are examined in greater detail below.
Duty
Did the defendant ( the other driver, property owner, doctor, nurse, healthcare provider, etc.)
owe a duty to you?  A duty of care arises in cases in which the law recognizes a relationship between the defendant and you, and because of the relationship, the defendant is obligated to act in a reasonably careful manner in regard to  plaintiff.

A driver on the road owes a duty of due care to other folks on the road or street including motorists and pedestrians for instance.  A property owes a duty of due care to people coming onto the property and must inspect and correct dangerous conditions that exist on the property and keep in the property in reasonably safe condition. A doctor or other health care provider owes a duty of due care to their patients.

Breach of the Duty
A defendant is will be held negligently responsible if the defendant breaches the duty of care owed to the plaintiff. A defendant who fails to act as a reasonablely prudent individual in the same or similar circumstances breaches their duty. Generally speaking whether a defendant breached a duty of care is a question of fact. In some cases depending upon the facts and circumstances, we need expert testimony to establish breach of a duty, and this is often true in medical malpractice claims.

Causation – Substantial Factor 
A injured party must show that the defendant’s acts or omissions were a substantial factor in causing injury. A substantial factor in causing harm is a factor that a reasonable person would consider to have contributed to the harm. It must be more than a remote or trivial factor. It does not have to be the only cause of the harm.

Often an injured party believes that because a physical issue arose after an incident the defendant must have caused the problem, this is not necessarily so. Often we need expert testimony by treating doctors to establish a causal relationship between an incident and injury. The same applies for claimed economic losses. If you cannot prove that the defendant’s actions were a substantial factor in causing your claimed damages then you cannot win on those claims.

Damages
You must prove that the negligent act of the defendant caused you harm, usually as physical injury to a person or to property. It is not enough that the defendant was negligent, i.e.,  failed to exercise reasonable care. For instance, suppose a doctor negligently gives you the wrong prescription and you go to the pharmacy to have filled. The pharmacy catches the error and calls the doctor and they give the correct medication to you. Also assume that had the wrong prescription be given to you, and you would have died! In my opinion you have no case because the doctor’s failure to exercise reasonable care did not result in actual damages, now had you taken the wrong medication and you died, well . . .

Conclusion
Whether you can sue and win, depends ultimately on facts or your individual claim and the relative strengths or weakness of each element of your claim.

Should you wish to discuss your matter with me, give me a call at 626-796-6333

IF YOU TRIP AND FALL OR ARE OTHERWISE INJURED ON SOMEONE ELSE’S PROPERTY, CAN YOU SUE? MORE IMPORTANTLY CAN YOU WIN ? PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIMS.

One can be injured on someone else property in a number of ways, including, slips and fall accidents, trip and fall accidents, shelf collapsing accidents, products falling and hitting one accident, walls collapsing on someone, these and many other ways exist for folks to be hurt on someone else’s property. We often refer to these types of claims as premises liability cases.

When we, the public, enters a property, we all have a reasonable expectation of not being harmed.  These are expectations that we all have, whether we are going into a supermarket, restaurant, fast food restaurant, amusement park, casino, office building, hospitals, parking lots, sidewalks or any other structure or building.  The law requires that the possessor of the property to maintain their property and they are required to inspect and correct defective and dangerous conditions. This failure to do so is sometimes called “premises liability.”  For example, someone having their care fixed at car repair facility  might slip and fall on an oil slick within an area in which customers walk. Such a person may have a legitimate claim because the owner of the property failed to keep the premises safe.

The legal theory of premises liability holds property owners responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their property when they have done something negligent. Just because one trips and falls on someone else’s property does not make them automatically responsible for what happened. One must show the owner was in someway at fault. A land owner is not an insurer of the safety of the folks on his premises.  As stated in the Court case of  (Taylor v. Centennial Bowl, Inc. (1966) 65 Cal.2d 114, 121 [52 Cal. Rptr. 561, 416 P.2d 793] the land owner  “ is required to exercise reasonable care for their safety and is liable for injuries resulting from a breach of this duty. The general duty includes not only the duty to inspect the premises in order to uncover dangerous conditions, but, as well, the duty to take affirmative action to control the wrongful acts of third persons which threaten invitees where the occupant has reasonable cause to anticipate such acts and the probability of injury resulting therefrom.” (internal citations omitted.)

Liability is set by the laws and procedures of the state within which the injury occurred. In some states, including California there is potentially different standards set depending upon the legal status of the injured party. In Rowland v. Christian, 69 Cal. 2d 108 (1968),  a case decided by the Supreme Court of California placed a general duty of care on the possessor of land to the people on the land. However, the still recognizes a higher degree of care for business invitees.

Under California law to hold a possessor of a property responsible for personal injuries to someone on their land one needs to establish essentially three facts.

1. The owners of the property knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and that the condition created an unreasonable risk of injury. A owner of a commercial property is required to inspect for and discover “dangerous conditions.”;

2. The owner didn’t exercise due care to make discover the condition, to make the condition safe, or to warn of the dangerous condition and the risk involved; and

3. The injured party did not know or have reason to know of the dangerous condition and the risks involved.

We have handled many premises liability cases including claims against public entities, private buildings and amusement parks. The list is long. So remember, if you or a loved one has been injured because of a premises liability incident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that your legal rights to fair compensation are fully assessed and protected. Please feel free to give me a call, we are here to help. The Law Offices of Richard M. Katz, 626-796-6333

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