Jump to Navigation
Protecting Families. Demanding Justice. Exceeding Expectations.
Welcome To Our Blog

Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Law Blog

Who is legally responsible when a child is injured at birth?

For Pennsylvania residents who have seen any of their children suffer a birth injury, the question of who may be sued for damages often comes up. In health care facilities, especially hospitals, there are usually various parties involved, one or several of which may be found liable for any injuries to children.

The parties that could potentially be responsible for a birth injury include the medical staff, hospital, and even the pharmaceutical companies that supply drugs to the facility. A negligent nurse or doctor could be sued directly if they failed to live up to the standard of care that comes with their positions. The hospital for which a negligent medical professional works may also be liable on two separate causes of action, those being negligence and vicarious liability. Negligence would be if the hospital failed to adequately investigate or supervise the staff that it hires. Additionally, the hospital may be vicariously liable for the actions of its staff under a legal principle known as respondeat superior. This applies to hospital employees if any of them caused a patient's injury while they were providing treatment within the scope of their employment.

Pennsylvania man homicide charge after fatal accident

Authorities in Pennsylvania have reported that a Doylestown man is facing several charges, including homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, after he allegedly struck a motorcycle on July 19. The rider of the motorcycle was killed as a result of the collision. The fatal accident occurred around 10:20 p.m. in Bucks County.

According to a police report, the 64-year-old man was traveling eastbound on Kellers Church Road in Bedminster when his vehicle drifted into the path of oncoming traffic. Responding police officers say that the man claimed that he could not remember crossing into the westbound lane of Kellers Church Road or striking the motorcycle. A toxicology test is said to have measured the man's blood-alcohol level at more than three times the .08 percent Pennsylvania legal limit.

Wrongful death and compensation

If someone dies and that person's family members believe that he or she was the victim of another party's negligence or malice, those relatives may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These kinds of civil suits arise when events like automobile accidents, surgeries, mixed up prescriptions and workplace accidents turn fatal. These lawsuits are often filed after criminal trials. In addition to damages for the financial harm done to them, plaintiffs in wrongful death suits can sometimes seek punitive damages.

Pecuniary harm includes medical and burial costs, loss of support and the heirs' inability to collect an inheritance. Factors like the earning capacity, age, life expectancy, character and intelligence of the victim are used to calculate the financial injury suffered by a plaintiff of a wrongful death suit. Primarily, pecuniary damages are awarded based on what was going on in the decedent's life when he or she died. For example, if that person had earned a promotion at work shortly before dying, that circumstance could yield a larger monetary award for family members.

Family sues government over suicide

A Pennsylvania family received a partial victory on July 15, when a judge ruled that the plaintiffs were permitted to seek negligence claims against the U.S government, but that Greek officials and Athens hospitals involved in the dispute would be immune. The plaintiffs' son committed suicide while serving as a Marine in Greece during August 2012. After the funeral and burial, the parents were informed by U.S. officials that his heart had gone missing after the autopsy in Athens was conducted.

The plaintiffs suspect their son informed a colleague about having suicidal thoughts after having a breakup that same night. They contend that he was still permitted to drink alcohol throughout the evening, despite his state of mind, and to access the weapons closet. The U.S. government is typically immune from wrongful death claims, so the family had filed emotional distress claims. The parents may consider filing a lawsuit in Greece against the other parties involved as well.

Strategies for reducing pediatric medication mistakes

Pennsylvania parents may be familiar with the challenges involved in accurately measuring teaspoons or tablespoons of liquid medications, especially if their pharmacies do not provide measuring spoons or droppers with the medications. This is one of the most common issues that result in medication errors at home. This is also one of the many issues being addressed as medical experts consider strategies for improving accuracy in the prescription and administration of medications for children.

Statistics indicate that up to 27 percent of prescriptions are either prescribed or administered incorrectly. Much of the research in addressing ways to improve these issues has focused on the prescribing process, a much easier task than evaluating the administration of medications in the home. Pre-printed prescription sheets appear to reduce errors in the prescribing process by up to 82 percent. These electronic or paper sheets tend to be much more legible, reducing the potential for misreading a prescribing physician's handwriting. When prescriptions are managed via computer software, additional issues such as allergies and potential drug interactions can be referenced.

Report tracks rise in deaths among pregnant American women

Pennsylvania residents might be interested in a recent analysis regarding the maternal mortality rate in the United States. According to a report by the United Nations and World Health Organization, there are roughly three deaths among pregnant women in the United States every day due to gestational complications. The report also states that every year approximately 50,000 women nationwide experience the risk of imminent death during the childbirth process.

With regard to maternal mortality rates, the report finds America to be the worst among developed countries. The issue is most salient in low-income communities, reportedly. For example, census data indicates that Camden, New Jersey, is a low-income city compared to other American municipalities. Reportedly, half of the pregnant women in the city do not receive first-trimester care, which is pivotal for detecting certain life-threatening issues. Moreover, for every 100,000 births in Camden, 30 women die, according to authorities.

Family sues after death in explosion

The death of a worker who lost his life in February during an explosion at a Pennsylvania gas well has sparked a wrongful death lawsuit against a subdivision of Chevron Corp. The 27-year-old was one of 20 workers at the site and died on Feb. 11 when the gas well exploded. His remains were found on location a few days later. Another worker suffered minor injuries. The fire took five days to extinguish itself because the fire was fed by natural gas.

His parents reportedly filed the wrongful death lawsuit in May and claimed that Chevron did not keep up maintenance on the well. The lawyer for the family released a statement that the reason for the explosion was still under investigation. The lawsuit was to motivate the collection of information from Chevron by the family and to help them understand what happened in the incident. They now have the right to protect their own interests and to look into the explosion.

Fatal hit and run leads to 2 arrests in Pennsylvania

Two people have been charged in connection with a Pennsylvania hit and run that killed a pedestrian in Bensalem on June 19. According to police, a man was found lying on the shoulder of Bristol Pike after 6:30 pm. He was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead there later.

Police received a tip leading them to the driver of the 2003 GMC pick-up truck that allegedly hit the man. The female driver was charged with hit and run as well as driving with a suspended license.

Man paralyzed by crash awarded $55.3 million

According to media sources, a Pennsylvania man was recently awarded $55.3 million in damages after he was permanently injured in an accident. The lawsuit was filed against the Honda Motor Company over allegations of a faulty seat belt design in its vehicles. Honda reportedly intends to appeal the judgment.

The accident that caused the now 57-year-old plaintiff to be permanently paralyzed from the chest down happened in 2010. According to trial records, a tire blew and the plaintiff was unable to control his Acura Integra. The vehicle overturned, causing him to hit his head on the roof of the Acura. His nephew was also in the vehicle but was not hurt.

Fatal Pennsylvania crash leads to charges against driver

A Pennsylvania teenager was recently charged with vehicular homicide after a crash that involved an elderly woman. The 19-year-old woman was driving in North Whitehall Township on April 12 when she allegedly crossed the yellow lines and hit another vehicle that was occupied by two people. According to officers, the 19-year-old's vehicle was going over 70 mph at the time of impact. The speed limit on the road was 55 mph.

Both drivers suffered serious injuries and had to be pried from their vehicles by emergency personnel. A female teen in the older woman's car was taken to hospital to receive treatment of undisclosed injuries, and an autopsy revealed that the older woman died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries. The 19-year-old was charged with vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and other traffic offenses. For vehicular homicide alone, she may face up to seven years in prison.

Free Legal Help. Contact Us Today.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Office Location:

Raizman Frischman Matzus & Rizza, P.C.
7300 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15208
Toll Free: 877-206-3829
Local: 412-567-0214
Fax: 412-325-2595 / 412-247-0720
Map & Directions

Print This Page

A Member of the FindLaw Network
SuperLawyers 2010 American Association for Justice Pennsylvania for Justice APITLAmerica