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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

5 reasons doctors misdiagnose cancer

Why too many doctors are getting it wrong.

When cancer is waging a war on a person's body and they're doing everything possible to fight it, a prompt and accurate diagnosis can literally be the difference between life and death. So why do doctors continue to miss important warning signs and fail to properly diagnose cancer?

According to the New York Times, doctors misdiagnose about 28 percent of cancer patients - nearly three in 10. With the devastating harm that a missed diagnosis can cause, it is critical that we understand why diagnostic errors happen and work to prevent them. 

Spotting the signs and symptoms of brain injuries

It is important to be able to spot the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are serious injuries but at times, such as following a car accident, their impact may not be immediately visible or apparent. As a result, it is important to know what to watch for if a traumatic injury is suspected following a car accident or other type of traumatic accident. If the accident was caused by a negligent driver, legal options may be available to help victims.

Traumatic brain injuries can result from closed head injuries so that there are no outward signs of the trauma the victim has suffered. The impact of a traumatic brain injury, however, can be serious and debilitating. Signs and symptoms of a brain injury may be subtle and difficult to detect and may not appear until days or weeks following a traumatic accident such as a car accident. Following a car accident, it is important to watch closely for the symptoms of a brain injury.

Legal options are available following nursing home abuse

The expectation when elderly individuals enter a nursing home is that they will be well cared for. Unfortunately, in some circumstances, elderly residents of nursing homes may sometimes be physically or emotionally abused. Nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse situations can sometimes lead to injuries or even death. Loved ones of victims of nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse may have legal protections to consider following an incident of nursing home negligence.

Nursing home negligence may lead to a personal injury or wrongful death claim for damages. In circumstances when a nursing home employs poorly trained staff; inadequately trained staff or staff with a history of violence, or a nursing home is inadequately staffed, and harm results to victims, it may create a claim of nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse.

What options are available following an aviation accident?

Aviation accidents can be catastrophic for victims and their families and may leave victims and their families wondering what resources are available to them following an aviation accident. Depending on the circumstances of the aviation accident, and the cause of the aviation accident, different parties may be liable to compensate victims for the damages they have suffered.

If the aviation accident was caused by human error, the owner or operator of the airplane may be responsible for the harm victims have suffered and liable to compensate them for their damages. If the aviation accident was caused by some type of mechanical failure, the manufacturer of the plane or others such as the maintenance supplier involved in the manufacturing process may be responsible for the harm victims have suffered and liable to compensate them for their damages.

Traumatic brain injuries can have a dramatic impact on victims

Brain injuries contribute to a significant number of deaths and disabling injuries each year. In total, during 2012, 2.5 million victims suffered brain injuries. TBI injuries account for 30 percent of all injury-related deaths. Traumatic brain injuries are caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Traumatic brain injuries can be open or closed injuries and closed-head injuries can sometimes be difficult to spot so it is important to watch for the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury following a car accident, for instance.

Traumatic brain injuries can have a lasting and unexpected impact on the lives of victims. TBIs can impact functions including thinking, memory, movement, sensation and emotional functions. Unfortunately, a traumatic brain injury victim may not be recognizable to themselves or their family members following a traumatic brain injury. As a result, TBIs can be especially costly and challenging to treat as they may last a lifetime.

What is the discovery rule?

When thinking of cases of tragedy, you may be surprised to learn that there is a statute of limitations in place for a variety of crimes. This would bar an individual from pressing charges against another party after a certain time period has lapsed. A wrongful death case surprisingly does.

In the state of Pennsylvania, an individual has only two years to file a claim for wrongful death, beginning with the date of death. However, there are factors that give cause to alter this beginning date for the statute of limitations. So, while two years may seem like a more than sufficient amount of time to file a claim, it may pass by without you even knowing it.

Victims of distracted driving are protected by the legal process

Distracted driving is an increasingly common problem. Increases in cell phone use, texting while driving and other types of distracted driving lead to car accidents that can result in significant injuries and harm to victims. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that 11 percent of car accidents were caused by distracted driving. In addition, distracted driving-related car accidents led to 300 fatalities in Pennsylvania.

AAA reports that one in four drivers engage in distracted driving in Pennsylvania. Distracted driving includes a variety of behaviors and the most well known is texting while driving. Distracted driving can also include operating a GPS device or radio while driving; eating while driving; putting on makeup or engaging in other grooming activities while driving; reading while driving; interacting with passengers while driving; and attending to children, pets or other passengers while driving.

Chain of custody and physical evidence

Pennsylvania residents who have been injured in a truck accident will need to rely on evidence if they want to pursue a personal injury claim against the truck driver who harmed them and that truck driver's employer. After all, for many truck accident victims, winning on one of these claims is the only way to recover compensation for damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Yet, although it may seem relatively easy to gather and present evidence in a persuasive fashion, the rules of evidence, trial and case law can make the matter rather complex.

For example, in some situations it may become necessary to put on evidence establishing a chain of custody for a particular piece of evidence. "Chain of custody" is the procedure by which evidence is collected and cared for. Most commonly chain of custody issues can arise in the criminal context, but they can also present problems in a civil case.

The cost of living with a spinal cord injury

The injuries a person can suffer in a car wreck can vary in severity. For instance, in a minor fender-bender an individual may escape with no injuries whatsoever. However, in a high-speed rear-end collision a driver may suffer from whiplash or broken bones. In the worst cases, outside of fatal accidents, victims suffer serious spinal cord injuries or a traumatic brain injury. Recovering from these injuries can be physically challenging, and in some cases a full recovery is impossible. As if this isn't enough to dishearten a severely injured individual, the truth of the matter is that these victims also face devastating financial losses as well.

The costs associated with a spinal cord injury can be significant. An individual who suffers from high tetraplegia can expect to spend more than $1 million in the first year following the accident, and up to nearly $185,000 each year after that. Even less severe spinal cord injuries, such as those that leave an individual with incomplete motor functioning at a lower level, can result in more than $300,000 in losses the first year, and more than $40,000 each subsequent year.

Modification of wrongful death compensatory awards

Suddenly and unexpectedly losing a loved one can throw your world into chaos. Such a loss can be utterly devastating to your emotions, especially when the accident that caused the death was wholly preventable. This is often seen in instances of distracted driving, drunk driving and medical malpractice. In addition to having to cope with the emotional pain and suffering experienced in the aftermath of a fatal accident, surviving family members must also find a way to recoup their economic damages, which can include anything from medical expenses, lost wages and funeral costs. Fortunately, a successful wrongful death claim may lead to the recovery of compensation that can help alleviate these financial strains.

Yet, even if Pittsburgh residents succeed on a wrongful death claim, they need to be prepared to make convincing legal arguments as to the proper amount of damages that should be awarded. After all, even if a jury buys into a plaintiff's story with regard to damages, the judge has the right to modify the award, either increasing it or decreasing it. For example, an award may be decreased if evidence demonstrated that the deceased individual had low earnings, even though that individual had a lot of earnings potential.

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