Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Losing More Than Keys

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

When people get old, sometimes they forget things.

I don’t mean the little things like whether it’s Tuesday or Wednesday, or where you last put down your keys. I mean things like how old I am or what my children look like. Some seniors aren’t really in their right mind a lot of the time.  That’s troubling enough. But when you need to put your parents in a nursing home you may have other troubles. Many nursing homes want to require arbitration agreements in order to house residents. Currently the CMS (the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services) prohibits nursing homes from requiring binding arbitration as part of a contract for their services. That’s good news for the patients in case of nursing home abuse. They can get their day in court.

At least for now. Earlier this summer the CMS proposed a revision. This would reinstate the ability of nursing homes to require arbitration clauses in their contracts.

So the rule was one thing. Now it’s another. And it depending on what happens with the CMS proposal, it could be something else soon. Sometimes it’s not just the seniors who get confused.

Hopefully elder abuse isn’t something you have to worry about. If you do – give us a call. We can help you figure out where you stand.

But we can’t help you with where you put the keys.

Insufficient Lifeguards

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017


In these hot humid days of August, consider this question -Would you hire a lifeguard that could not swim?

It sounds stupid doesn’t it? Yet every day, thousands of people are using guards as a method of protecting themselves from a life threatening situation that can’t possibly do the job that they have been put in place to do.

In this case we’re not talking about the lifeguard at the beach. We’re talking about cab guards. Cab guards are also known as headache racks or bulkhead guards. These are the racks placed between the cab and the load on a semi. In theory, they are there to protect the driver from load shifts that might drive the load into the cab – specifically into the drivers head. There are several neat looking models like the one below:

Oh – shiny.

But the question is, do they do their job?
Merritt Equipment Co. is one of the leading manufacturers of cab guards. Up until 2005 they said that their guards had been tested and could handle cargo loads of up to 55,586 pounds. That sounds pretty impressive doesn’t it? Wonder why they don’t mention that anymore …

Perhaps it’s because the average load of timber for a semi is about 110,000 pounds – almost double what a cab guard could supposedly protect against. So, if the average person in the U.S. weighs 180 pounds, that’s the equivalent of having a lifeguard who can only save people who weigh less than 100 pounds. There are times when it can be real trouble to be above average.

The seas of commerce can get pretty rough sometimes. If you need us to throw you a line, give us a call.

The FDA Warning About Invokana

Friday, July 15th, 2016

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If you or someone you know has taken Invokana, we encourage you to call our office immediately. There are significant side effects associated with taking this dangerous drug, so it is in your best interest to speak with a doctor about using a different medication and then to call our office to discuss your legal options if you have suffered harm from taking this drug.

FDA Alert:  The FDA issued a formal warning for patients that are taking this type 2 diabetes medication. The warning was sent out to family practitioners, nursing staff, and those practicing Endocrinology. In other words, your doctor or physician should be well aware of the dangers associated with taking Invokana. In fact, it is likely that they were aware of this FDA alert when prescribing it to you. If not, they certainly should have been since the warning was issued in September of 2015.

The FDA alert for Invokana addressed the issue with the decrease in bone mineral density along with concerns related to bone fractures and the need to continue to evaluate the risks that are associated with taking this drug. The warning included updates to side effect labeling and for doctors to be informed when prescribing to patients. The FDA warned that any patient taking Invokana who had suffered from bone fractures or a loss of bone density in the hip and spine should speak with their doctor and discuss taking a new drug immediately.

A Failure to Warn Patients

The challenge is that many doctors have failed to warn their patients about the true risks involved with taking Invokana. If you are one of them and have suffered a serious health consequences as a result of taking this drug, you are entitled to financial compensation to pay for your injuries, additional medical bills, time you missed from work, and pain and suffering. However, your doctor is not going to simply offer this to you, nor is the drug manufacturer. To receive the compensation you deserve, you need to hire an attorney. At our office we are experienced at handling Invokana cases and know how to maximize the value of our clients claims.   Remember, as a patient you have the right to receive safe medical care and to take drugs that are not going to harm you. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and in order to hold the drug manufacturer accountable, you need to file a case in civil court. We can help you to do so.

Call to Discuss Your Case

We invite you to call the Garmon Law Firm to discuss your case in further detail.

 

Speak with a Lawyer if You Took Depakote While Pregnant

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

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Did you take the drug Depakote during your pregnancy?  If you did, and your child was born with a birth defect, you could be entitled to financial compensation. While there are some standard side effects with this drug, like fever, rash, weakness, dizziness, and hair loss, the warnings were not clear regarding how risky this drug was for pregnant women.  As a result, many were prescribed it and children have been born with birth defects as a result.

Some of the common challenges pregnant women and their children have had, include:

  • Craniofacial defects, including cleft palate and skull malformations
  • Neural tube defects
  • Cardiovascular malformations and heart defects
  • Spina bifida

Understanding the Risks Associated with Taking Depakote

According to the FDA, the risk to pregnant women and their baby are the highest during the first trimester since many women do not realize that they are pregnant.  If you were taking this drug and stopped once you realized you were pregnant, but your baby was still born with a physical challenge, you could have a case. Stopping the drug part-way through the pregnancy has not been proven to stop the defect from forming.

Were You Warned of the Risk?

The FDA has recommended that doctors prescribe a different medication to women of childbearing years due to the incredibly high risk associated with taking it.  If you were prescribed this drug but not warned about the danger of becoming pregnant while on it, your doctor could also share some liability for failing to inform you.

Depakote Was Not Initially Approved for Treating Depression

The spike in these cases is largely due to the additional way that Depakote is being used.  It was approved in 1978 to treat epilepsy but it was not until recently that the FDA gave clearance for it to be used to treat both migraines and depression.  This has led to a significant expansion in how the drug is used by women in general.  Since migraine headaches are typically not a concern for OBGYNs, the link between the medication and potential pregnancy risks are often not made in time to prevent a birth defect. This is why even if you were under the care of an OB, they may not have made the connection.

Speak with an Attorney

At the Garmon Law Firm, we understand how traumatic it can be to have a child with a birth defect. We also understand how much money it can cost to secure the proper medical care for them.  We can work to ensure that the right parties are held accountable and that you receive any financial compensation that is due to you.  To discuss your case in detail, call and schedule a consultation.

 

SSRI Medications, Including Zoloft, Can Lead to Birth Defects

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

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If you recently gave birth to child that was born with a birth defect, you may be struggling to learn why. Understandably, this can be an emotionally draining experience and the need to search for answers is all too common.  If you were taking medications during your pregnancy, that is a good place to begin your investigation.  As experienced personal injury attorneys, we have helped clients that have suffered harm due to taking SSRI medications while pregnant.  Medications including Zoloft, Effexor, Wellbutrin, and Paxil have all been known to cause birth defects, which is alarming considering how frequently they are prescribed.

Determining Negligence and Proving Your Case

If you think that your child was harmed due to you taking SSRIs during your pregnancy, your first step should be to call our office.  Proving negligence is not as easy as it seems. It is not enough to simply say that you were taking the drug.  We need to gather evidence that can demonstrate when you were taking the drug, why it was prescribed, if your doctor gave you the appropriate warnings about not becoming pregnant, or if your doctor informed you that there was an actual risk of birth defects if becoming pregnant while on the drug. Next, we will need to gather evidence from your child’s physician to demonstrate the type of birth defect that they have suffered. Then we can go to work linking the two. It is necessary to do a thorough job of gathering evidence and building a strong case so that you and your child can receive the maximum possible compensation. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced attorney that understands how the legal process works and also understands the complications and risks that are involved with taking SSRIs during pregnancy. We do and we have the investigative resources necessary to build a strong case for your benefit.

Determining the Value of Your Claim

One of the questions we are regularly asked by clients that have taken Zoloft, Effexor, Wellbutrin, and Paxil during pregnancy is “what is my claim worth?” An understandable question, we need more information to provide you with an answer, we need to speak with you directly.  During your consultation, we will ask questions about the birth defect that your child was born with, their medical bills to-date, if they are likely to recover, and what their future medical bills may be.  Your doctor can help to answer many of these.  Next, we will need to know how their birth defect has impacted your life.  For example, if you had to quit your job to take care of your child, you could be entitled to compensation for these lost wages.  We will factor in all details when building a case that maximizes the compensation you and your child can receive.  To discuss your case in further detail, call and schedule a free consultation with the Garmon Law Firm.

 

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy or Myomectomy Morcellation Lawsuit

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

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If you have recently undergone a laparascopic hysterectomy or myomectomy and you have been diagnosed with cancer following the surgery, you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the makers and distributors of the morcellator device, also known as the power morcellator.

What is the morcellator device?

The morcellator device is used during laparascopic hysterectomies or fibroid removal surgeries (myomectomies) to treat uterine fibroids and remove the uterus. The device divides the tissues into smaller pieces in order to remove the matter through a small incision, providing a quicker recovery and less scarring.

What is the danger associated with the morcellator device?

Recents complaints have been made associated with the spread of cancer cells due to the use of the morcellator device. Many women have been diagnosed with upstaged uterine or abdominal sarcomas. A sarcoma, also known as leiomyosarcoma, is a rare, aggressive, and often terminal cancer that starts as a malignant tumor. This type of cancer attacks the connective and supportive tissues of the body, including cartilage, fat, bone, muscle, and the vascular system.

The morcellator device may cause the spread of cancerous tissue outside of the uterus when the device is used during hysterectomies or myomectomies for uterine fibroids. While the FDA now discourages the use of the morcellator device and encourages patients to consider other treatment options, many women have already become the victims of this dangerous procedure method.

Many women who opt for a laparascopic hysterectomy or myomectomy to address uterine fibroids have an unsuspected uterine sarcoma they are unaware of. If the use of a morcellator device occurs during their procedure, there is a risk that the cancerous tissue can spread through the pelvis and abdomen, worsening their chances of the proper removal of the cancer in a timely manner.

Power Morcellator Lawsuit

If you are a victim of the spread of cancer or a cancer diagnosis associated with the use of a power morcellator during a laparascopic procedure, legal action can be taken to compensate you for your financial losses and medical expenses. With the FDAs official warning that the device may spread cancer occurring in April 2014, the makers and sellers of the power morcellator must now answer for their negligence. The spread of unsuspected cancer due to the morcellator device can significantly reduce your likelihood of long-term survival. To learn more about how we can help you gain back what you have lost financially and help you pursue other avenues of health, contact our office.  At the Garmon Law Firm, we will be happy to answer your questions during a free consultation.

 

Nausea Drug Zofran May Be Linked with Birth Defects

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

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Zofran is a popular nausea medication used to treat severe nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women.  It is often used to treat hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that causes debilitating morning sickness during pregnancy. Zofran and the generic ondansetron were approved to treat nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy or surgery. They have been prescribed “off-label” by many physicians to treat pregnant women suffering from nausea and vomiting.

Studies have linked Zofran to an increase in heart defects and congenital malformations. The drug label, however, bears no warning about the risks of taking the drug during pregnancy. Numerous birth defects, heart defects, and congenital malformations have been reported including:

  • Craniosynostosis – an abnormally shaped skull, caused by the premature fusion of bone plates
  • Cleft palate and lip
  • Heart defects (atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect, heart murmur)
  • Club feet
  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Kidney malformation
  • Skeletal defects

Zofran lawsuits are forming in many states by women who allege they were not warned of the risks associated with the nausea drug. Many of these women have given birth to children with heart defects or congenital abnormalities they believe may be associated with the Zofran they took during pregnancy.

Most pregnant women exercise extreme caution and carefully avoid certain foods, beverages, and medications that they believe may be harmful to their developing child. But when women are not notified of the potential risks or the connection with defects in children, they cannot make intelligent, informed decisions. Often these same women face heartbreak when they find that the birth defects and injuries that their child must endure may be linked to their ingestion of a medication.

It is critical that pharmaceutical manufacturers warn women of the risks during pregnancy. If you took Zofran during pregnancy and your child was born with a heart defect or a congenital birth defect, you may be eligible for compensation. These defects often result in numerous medical bills as children must visit specialists and sometimes undergo surgical treatment. That’s why it is important to hold GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Zofran, responsible for failure to warn women of potential side effects.

For more information or for a free consultation, contact the Garmon Law Firm online or at 256-543-HURT. It is essential to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side!

 

Testosterone Treatment Proves Dangerous

Friday, April 1st, 2016

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Testosterone products are a recent trend in medicine, prescribed to treat low testosterone or “Low T” in males. Approximately 3 to 7 percent of men experience low testosterone levels which may be associated with fatigue, infertility, and sexual difficulties. There are a variety of medications prescribed to treat low testosterone levels, including:

  • AndroGel
  • Androderm
  • Axiron
  • Depo-Testosterone
  • Fortesta
  • Striant
  • Testim
  • Testopel

A number of men have experienced heart attacks, heart problems, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and strokes while taking these medications. Many of these men claim they were not adequately warned of the connection between testosterone treatment and these dangerous side effects.

Studies, such as one performed by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2009 indicate that some men may be as much as 29 percent more likely to die or suffer a stroke or heart attack during testosterone treatment. In 2015, the FDA issued a communication announcing that warnings will be placed on testosterone replacement drugs indicating the connection between the use of these drugs and the increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots.

In addition, new warnings indicate that testosterone treatment should not begin until men have tested positive for hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, through clinical testing. These warnings seem to address the fact that a number of men may have been prescribed these medications to treat symptoms without being tested to determine if they were actually experiencing low testosterone.

A number of lawsuits have been filed by men alleging they were not warned about the increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and death, especially in men with heart problems, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. They further allege that pharmaceutical manufacturers recklessly advertised treatment for “Low T” as a method of treating sexual difficulties, weight gain, and fatigue. Finally, the lawsuits indicate that consumers and medical practitioners were not informed of the increased risks of heart attack and death associated with these medications, even after manufacturers were clearly aware of the connection.

If you received treatment for low testosterone and, while undergoing treatment, suffered a heart attack, stroke, or blood clot, contact the Garmon Law Firm today. If you lost a loved one to any of these conditions while he was being treated for “Low T,” we may be able to help. Many men have suffered dangerous medical conditions while receiving testosterone therapy. We can help you pursue justice against the pharmaceutical manufacturers who may have failed to warn you of the dangers. Contact us today online or by phone at 256-543-HURT for a free consultation.

False Claims Acts/WhistleBlower

Monday, March 28th, 2016

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When unscrupulous businesses or individuals defraud the government, a False Claims Act can be filed. The False Claims Act allows individuals to file a lawsuit on behalf of the government in cases of suspected fraud and, if the government chooses to intervene, the individual is entitled to a share of the recovery. Cases may include:

  • Double billing
  • Billing for services not performed
  • Performing procedures or tests that are not warranted in an effort to increase reimbursement
  • Billing for more expensive services, tests, or procedures than were given
  • Ordering additional tests in absence of indications in order to increase reimbursement
  • Filing false claims
  • Any of a number of other fraudulent activities

If you suspect that an individual or a business has defrauded the government, it is critical to compile as much evidence as possible. An experienced False Claims Act attorney can help you determine what evidence may be necessary in your case. Recovery in these cases can be substantial, and the Alabama and Federal Whistleblower Statutes may protect you from retaliatory actions by your employer.

False Claims Acts are extremely sensitive in nature. They are, therefore, filed under seal in a U.S. District Court. This means that the public and even the defendant are not aware that a case has been filed. The government then has the opportunity to consider the evidence presented and determine whether or not they will intervene. If the government chooses to intervene, they then take over the lead in the case, however the whistleblower and their attorney are still involved. Should the government decline to intervene, the whistleblower can still choose to continue to move forward on behalf of the government.

Whistleblower cases can be extremely complex and may require extensive research and evidence collection. It is important to have an attorney on your side to help you file the necessary paperwork and assess the merits of your claim. In addition, your attorney can help you understand what constitutes solid evidence of fraud. This information will help you build a case that is more likely to be pursued by the government. If the defendant is found to have defrauded the government, they may have to pay three times the amount in damages as well as hefty fines for their actions. Whistleblowers typically are eligible to receive between 15 to 30 percent of this recovery. The percentage received is often based on the amount of help and evidence contributed by the whistleblower and his or her attorney. Again, having an attorney who is familiar with whistleblower cases may help you receive a greater reward.

The courts take whistleblower actions seriously and go to great lengths to protect individuals who take action on their behalf. If you have evidence to believe that an individual or company has defrauded the government, contact the Garmon Law Firm today online or by phone at 256-543-HURT for a free consultation.

IVC Filters May Have Deadly Complications

Friday, March 4th, 2016

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Inferior vena cava filters, or IVC filters, are implanted in individuals who cannot safely take blood thinners in order to prevent clots from traveling to the lungs. These filters are designed to catch any clots and allow them time to safely dissipate. The FDA has received many reports of complications from retrievable IVC filters. The filters have punctured organs, migrated to other parts of the body, and fractured. As a result, the FDA has issued guidelines indicating that the IVC filters should be removed from the body as soon as possible, as the risk for complications increases the longer the filter stays in the body.

Numerous studies have noted high rates of complications from these devices. Of particular concern are indications that Bard, one of the major manufacturers of IVC filters, may have known of the high fracture rate as early as 2003. The company did not inform the FDA of the problem, however, until they had a suitable replacement device to market.

I have an IVC filter- what signs may indicate complications?

Some complications, such as the migration of the IVC filter, may not come with any noticeable signs of trouble. In fact, you may not know the device has migrated until your physician attempts to remove it. Often, however, there are signs of trouble. If you have an IVC device and notice any of these symptoms that may indicate a complication, contact your physician right away. Symptoms include:

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Neck pain

What complications can occur?

Complications range from mild, such as a filter that has migrated and is a bit more difficult to remove, to severe, including potentially life-threatening emergencies. If part of the IVC filter breaks off or punctures the inferior vena cava or an organ, you may experience one of the following:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Stroke
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Punctures of the lungs or heart
  • The accumulation of fluid around the heart or lungs
  • Open heart surgery
  • Death

I have an IVC filter – how can I avoid risk?

The FDA has warned that the IVC filters should be removed as soon as the threat of blood clots has passed, or within one to two months, if possible. In the past, some filters that were intended to be used for a short time were left in for years. The risk of complications seems to increase the longer the device is in the body.

I’ve experienced complications from my IVC filter. Do I have a case?

If you have experienced complications from your IVC filter, contact the Garmon Law Firm right away. Our experienced products liability attorney can talk to you about the legal options available in your case. As always, there is no obligation and your consultation is free, so contact the Garmon Law Firm today!