Product Liability

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

A critical component of damages in wrongful death car accident cases is loss of services of the survivors from the victim. Loss of services is a dumb legal expression we would do best to get rid of. Solatium damages is an awful phrase, too. But at least it does not imply in the definition that the loss is pretty much someone doing less for you. (Noneconomic pain and suffering damages is a little better, I guess. We will use that.)

In Maryland, we describe these wrongful death damages to a jury as “mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, marital care, parental care, filial care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance, or education where applicable.” Most states use similar strange language but the gist of it is: what has really been lost – calculating everything – from the death of this person?
Here are the statistics nationally on noneconomic pain and suffering jury awards:

The study provided some more interesting data:

Loss of Services Awards to Spouses of Decedents to Age 49

  • Award Median: $1,000,000
  • Award Average: $1,799,530

Loss of Services Awards to Spouses of Decedents Age 50+

  • Award Median: $742,591
  • Award Average: $1,790,938

Overall Loss of Services Awards in Death Cases:

  • Award Median: $900,000
  • Award Average: $2,834,460

I’m not surprised by the gap between victims under 50 and those over 50. It is probably cold and unfair. But jurors do have a clear understanding of life tables and the idea that loss is relative. In Maryland, this is not ultimately a big issue in wrongful death cases because of the cap on non-economic damages.

Personal Injury Settlement Calculator

Google “personal injury settlement calculator.” A lot of people get on-line looking for a personal injury settlement calculator as if there is some formula that will calculate the amount of money they will get for their personal injury car accident claim.

The reality is that trying to find a calculator to determine your personal injury settlement is fool’s gold. Please trust me, if you find an answer on the Internet that values your car accident settlement, it is utter nonsense.

Generally speaking, the personal injury settlement formula for a car accident cases is:
Past and Future Medical Bills
Past and Future Lost Wages
Past and Future Pain and Suffering Damages

How does that formula apply to you? The first two you may be able to knock down pretty simply if there are no future medical bills or future lost wages. But, ultimately, the money in personal injury car accident cases is your pain and suffering damages. And there is no personal injury settlement calculator that you can find that is going to give you pain and suffering damages that are specific to you. Because each case – your case – is unique.
Our website does discuss some of the major factors of case value that apply in most personal injury cases.

If you still feel like you just need some sort of personal injury settlement calculator and you don’t care that the result that it churns out are stupid and useless of no help at all, go here. These kind folks pretend there is a formula. Granted, these people are not lawyers, they are a consulting company that presumably generates leads for accident lawyers by creating a website called… wait for it… Personal Injury Calculator.

Topamax Cleft Lip Lawsuit

The FDA said last week it is telling Americans that Topamax causes an increased risk of oral birth defects – specifically cleft lips and cleft palates – in children whose moms took Topamax during pregnancy.

Topamax is approved to treat epileptic seizures and to prevent migraines, which it reportedly does quite effectively. But all of the evidence suggests that Tomamax can raise the risk of cleft lips and cleft palates in infants exposed to the drug during pregnancy.


Getting Around to Car Recall Repairs

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now auditing car rental companies to make sure they are completing repairs on cars that have been recalled before renting or leasing them.

The car recall problem is twofold: car companies making defective cars and then the failure to solve the problem by fixing the car after the recall has been made. Consumers are the worst on this: they get a recall notice and toss it into the trash. When that happens, it is on you if your car becomes involved in a serious accident. The recall was out there. Get the car fixed.

The feds are looking at a more curable problem. Car rentals and leases where the recalls are never repaired. The government thinks that car companies have been aware of incidents involving personal injury or death caused by failure to conform to the applicable federal safety rules.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this investigation. My prediction from reading this article: lots of fines for everyone.

Seroquel Update: Still No Good News

Losses continue to pile up for Plaintiffs in the Seroquel litigation. The Drug and Medical Device Law Blog reports two more defeats on summary judgment in Delaware state court.

The endless succession of defeats for plaintiffs in these Seroquel lawsuits has to make plaintiffs’ lawyers look twice at these cases. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. I think the new reality is that there is a significant – don’t ask me to define significant – number of Seroquel lawsuits that will not get past summary judgment. But there are thousands of cases left and I still think there is going to be a turning point in these cases for plaintiffs. There are just too many good facts for plaintiffs
for this litigation to blow up.

Maryland Yaz Lawyer: Lawsuits Involving Yaz/Yasmin/Ocella in Baltimore Washington Area

Maryland women who have filed YAZ/Yasmin lawsuits in federal courts are seeing their cases shipped to Illinois, and many are wondering why. The Judicial Panel on MultiDistrict Litigation (JPML) approved MDL-2100, In Re: Yasmin and YAZ (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation. The approval was made on October 1, only seven days after the September 24 hearing.

The effect of the order is to transfer all YAZ and Yasmin drug defect cases that are now or later filed in federal courts to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The judge in charge of coordinated and/or consolidated proceedings there will be Chief Judge David R. Herndon (a Clinton appointee who, while in private practice, primarily represented plaintiffs in FELA railroad cases).

This is a terrific and exciting move for the YAZ and Yasmin litigation. The MDL will enable attorneys to spend more time working on the common discovery in all of their cases, and less time on case management orders and case-specific motions practice. Consolidation will truly promote judicial efficiency, and will probably lead to a better result for all concerned.
There are other hotbeds of YAZ/Yasmin activity. Some Maryland YAZ/Yasmin patients may have cases filed in state court in Philadelphia, California, or New Jersey. Philadelphia has a mock-centralization established. Whichever location for the case, we are confident that Maryland women and their families who have been injured by YAZ and Yasmin (injuries include gall bladder disease and removal, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, strokes and heart attacks) will get their day in court.

If you or someone you care for has used Yasmin/Yaz and has suffered from blood clots, stroke, DVT, heart attack or gallbladder injury, or you are an attorney with a Yasmin/Yaz case for which you would co-counsel or you think might be a candidate for a lawsuit or future potential global settlement, please call one of our MarylandYasmin/Yaz attorneys at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free no obligation consultation on your potential Yasmin/Yaz lawsuit.

Toyota Lawsuit

A former Toyota lawyer is accusing the car maker of illegally withholding evidence in hundreds of rollover death and injury cases, in a “ruthless conspiracy” to hide evidence of “its vehicles’ structural shortcomings.”

Toyota calls the accusations “inaccurate” and accuses the attorney of violating “his ethical and professional obligations.”

As to the latter charge, let’s assume the lawyer violated the lawyer-client privilege. Okay, he should be disbarred if that is true. Still, forget about blaming the messenger. What did Toyota do?

Having said that, I will say this: Toyota does make a really good car.