All posts by Donald Manning

nh injury lawyers

NH Injury Lawyers Discuss Surgery Centers

Surgery Centers Not Reporting Deadly Complications

NH injury lawyers
Medicare data shows that the most common type of surgery performed by an ASC is ophthalmology, specifically cataract surgery. [Click chart]

The rising cost of health care in America is a big concern. Small, relatively routine surgeries that are performed in a hospital can greatly increase those costs. Thus, many patients are directed toward ambulatory or same-day surgery centers. In 1970, the first freestanding surgery center was started in Phoenix to combat rising health care costs and provide more convenient, timely care for patients. The number of ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) in the United States has exploded since, surpassing 5,600 today.

As the number of surgeries performed in these centers has risen into the millions, so have the risks of medical complications. A new joint investigation by USA TODAY and Kaiser Health News sheds light on centers plagued by poor oversight, unqualified or ill-equipped staff, and little to no accountability.

Poor Training, Equipment, and Procedures Endanger Patients

Since 2013, more than 260 patients have died after “in-and-out” procedures at surgery centers across America. At Kandis Endoscopy Center in Arkansas, two people died and one suffered brain damage in the span of four months after complications during anesthesia. Arkansas is one of 17 states that does not have a mandate for ASCs to report deaths after a procedure.

Medicare reporting qualifications aren’t strong either, allowing ASCs latitude on reporting the number of patients that are transferred to a hospital unless more than half leave by ambulance. A hospital transfer indicates that a surgery center could not handle a serious issue that occurred during a procedure. Only one-third of ASCs voluntarily disclose how often patients are sent to an emergency department. Even the ASC Quality Collaboration, an advocacy organization run by leaders in the industry, requested that Medicare require better reporting. It also publishes a voluntary quarterly quality report.

And what happens when the doctors working at a center are also the owners? In large hospitals, committees and administrators are in place to oversee doctors. However, many surgery centers are partially or fully owned by the physicians who work there. This creates a conflict of interest between a doctor-owner’s financial interests and his/her willingness to report mistakes.

In 2001, gynecologist Dr. Paul Mackoul lost his hospital privileges after a committee reviewed his “competence or conduct” as a physician. He now runs his own surgery center with his wife. In 2015, a uterine cancer patient died after Dr. Mackoul installed a catheter into her chest, even though he was not certified to perform any type of cancer surgery. Her family sued, alleging that the doctor punctured a vein during installation, causing blood to build up in her chest and her lung to collapse. Dr. Mackoul is still performing surgeries today.

Guide to Vetting Surgery Centers

With millions of procedures or more performed each year, you or a loved one could be referred to a surgery center in the near future. What can you do to reduce the chance of complications?

  • Choose a center that has accreditation. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid provide a list of approved accrediting organizations.
  • Talk to trusted friends and family about their experiences. If you know someone who has had the same procedure, ask them about the surgery center they utilized.
  • Look for a facility and surgeons that perform your procedure on a regular basis.
  • Customer reviews are your friend! Do your due diligence and look for patient reviews online before you book your surgery.
  • Make sure your center is close to a hospital just in case an emergency arises.

Contact Experienced NH Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Have you or a loved one been injured by another person’s careless acts? If so, it is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!

For a free consultation, contact the NH injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 671-3156, by email at info@MZLawNH.com, or by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

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Empty Promises and Insincere Apologies

NH Injury Attorneys Identify Bad Corporate Conduct in the Age of “Sorry, Not Sorry”

Think back for a second on 2018. How many companies or institutions do you remember publicly apologizing for inappropriate, malicious or dangerous behavior? The NH injury attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law suggest that you will probably run out of fingers trying to count them all.

Household names like United Airlines, Wells Fargo, Uber and Papa John’s are just a few of those that asked millions of Americans for forgiveness after getting caught committing major malfeasance. But once the cameras stopped rolling and the news media hoard moved on, did those apologies really mean anything?

Not really, according to The Worst Corporate Conduct of 2018, a shattering new report from the American Association for Justice (AAJ). In fact, these apologies are increasingly part of a business strategy to placate Americans with empty platitudes. They then return to business as usual. Examples from the report follow of companies that owe us all a real apology.

debt
Student loan borrowers in the U.S. owe a combined $1.5 trillion in debt

Navient Preys on Debt-Ridden Students

Navient was founded in 2014 as an offshoot of Sallie Mae. It owns 21 percent of all student loans in the United States. It is also the third-largest student loan provider in the country. In just five years since its inception, Navient has garnered three times as many complaints as its competitors. Just a few include:

  • Reporting severely and/or permanently disabled veterans as having defaulted on their loans when in fact they had had them forgiven through federal disability programs.
  • Sending out $0 due bills for months that were paid in advance, but then penalizing those borrowers for “failure to pay” when payments weren’t paid anyhow.
  • Going after the families of deceased borrowers despite promises these loans would be forgiven, even charging interest in some cases.
nh injury attorneys
State Farm settled a RICO lawsuit before it went to trial

State Farm Buys Sympathetic Judge

In 1999, a lower court found that State Farm advised auto shops to repair policyholder cars with lower-quality, after-market parts. When the $1.06 billion verdict was affirmed by a court in 2001, the insurer appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. Meanwhile, millions in contributions were funneling into the successful campaign of Lloyd Karmeier, a candidate for Chief Justice. Once on the bench, Karmeier cast the deciding vote to absolve State Farm from accountability.

Years later, an investigation by a former FBI agent revealed that State Farm had secretly helped fund 90 percent of Karmeier’s $4.8 million campaign war chest. Caught red-handed, State Farm eventually settled a $250 million Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit just before the case was set to go to trial in September 2018.

Major oil companies knew the threat of fossil fuels to climate 30 years ago.

Oil Companies Ignore Own Warnings of Damage to Climate

In January of 2018, New York City sued the world’s five largest publicly traded oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell – claiming that the companies together were responsible for 11 percent of the world’s global warming gases. The suit also alleges that these companies have long known about the damage fossil fuels would cause through climate change.

Recently uncovered internal documents from the 1980s and ’90s reveal that Shell researchers believed global warming would “create significant changes in sea level, ocean currents, precipitation patterns, regional temperature and weather.” Company scientists at Exxon also led research on the subject in the 1980s. They predicted the same devastating effects to the environment, future living standards and food supplies.

The Great Equalizer – The American Civil Justice System

Other corporations profiled in the 2018 Worst Corporate Conduct report include Takata and General Motors, Nestle, Theranos and Michigan State University/USA Gymnastics. Again, you can download the complete report here. Many federal and state regulators are pulling back from the job of corporate watchdog. It’s more important than ever that we protect the constitutional role of our civil justice system. It empowers any American to hold these bad actors accountable.

“Consumers don’t want apologies,” conclude the AAJ researchers. “They want to be safe from deception and negligence, from cars that can kill them, from exploitation by financial companies; they want to enjoy something as simple as chocolate without subsidizing the slave trade; and they want to be able to trust their children to coaches and doctors who are supposed to have their best interests at heart without fear that they may face sexual harassment or abuse.”

Contact Experienced NH Injury Attorneys for a Free Consultation

Have you or a loved one been injured by another person’s careless acts? If so, it is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!

For a free consultation, contact the NH injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 671-3156, by email at info@MZLawNH.com, or by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

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We invite you to subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter.

truck crash

NH Injury Lawyers Discuss Truck Crashes

Due to their size and weight, trucks can cause serious damage and result in fatalities if involved in a crash.

According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,317 fatalities occurred in 2016 involving large trucks. This is 5.4% higher when compared to 2015 and is the highest level of large truck crash deaths since 2007.

Trucks vary in weight, size, and utility purposes. As a result, these vehicles can cause different extents of damage when involved in a truck crash. Below are statistics specifically related to the type of truck involved in a crash.

New Hampshire Truck Crash Attorney

SEMI & HEAVY TRUCKING CRASH STATISTICS

  • Of the 15.5 million trucks in the U.S., nearly 13 percent are big rigs, tractor trailers, and semis
  • About 98 percent of all semi accidents result in at least one fatality
  • Tractor trailer crashes cost more than $20 billion each year. Of this amount, $13.1 billion is associated with loss of quality of life
  • For every 100 million miles driven on U.S. roads, there are 2.3 deaths and 60.5 injuries caused by big rigs

COMMERCIAL TRUCK CRASH STATISTICS

  • The average cost of a commercial truck crash is about $59,150
  • Nearly 90 percent of commercial truck crashes are caused or worsened by some sort of human error. This is either on behalf of a truck driver, other drivers, other vehicle passengers, cyclists, or pedestrians
  • About 75 percent of commercial truck crashes are caused by drivers of other smaller passenger vehicles, rather than truck drivers
  • Driver fatigue is responsible for roughly 30 percent of all commercial truck crashes

TRUCK CRASH INJURY STATISTICS

  • About 130,000 individuals are injured each year in truck collisions
  • About 22 percent of all truck crashes result in injuries
  • In most truck crashes (about 70 percent), there are no injuries or deaths – only property damage

IN THE NEWS

A recent truck crash resulted in the loss of 16 Canadian junior hockey players. On April 6, 2018, these players were killed and others injured when a trailer truck struck their bus. The driver of the semi-truck failed to yield at the flashing stop signal, colliding with the bus carrying the team. Police charged the driver of the semi-trailer with 16 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

The driver had only one year experience driving trucks and two weeks in the vehicle involved in the crash. He had only been driving the vehicle on his own for two weeks when the crash occurred. In October 2018, the owner of the trucking company was charged with violating federal and provincial safety regulations.

Contact a Truck Crash Attorney

Have you or a loved one been injured by another person’s careless acts? If so, it is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!

For a free consultation, contact a NH truck crash lawyer at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 671-3156, by email at info@MZLawNH.com, or by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

NH injury lawyers

NH Injury Lawyers Discuss Toy Safety

Trouble in Toyland

Protect Smiles: Buy Safe Toys

The annual Trouble in Toyland survey provides toy safety guidelines and buying tips. [Download report]

According to the NH injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law, U.S. consumers spent about $20 billion on toys in 2017 with projections for a seven percent increase in sales for 2018. In short, toys are big business. The downside: a market flooded with toys that, in some cases, are not tested for safety.

Fortunately for American toy buyers (and kids), the definitive annual toy safety survey from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) is here. For more than 30 years, the Trouble in Toyland report has identified toys on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards to children. You can download the report here. Key findings this year include:

  • Toxic Slime: Several popular ‘slimes’ on the market have levels of boron that are 15 times the level recommended by the European Union. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, ingesting boron can cause nausea, vomiting, rashes and seizures. [Download report]
     
  • Missing Choking Warnings: Among children’s toys and products, balloons are the number one cause of suffocation death. [Download report] However, in a survey of five search pages for balloons sold on Amazon, U.S. PIRG found no choking hazard labels on 87 percent of the latex balloons marketed to parents of children under two. This is a violation of the law. Never let a child under the age of three play with balloons.
     
  • Smart Toys Can Be TOO Smart: Websites, apps, and smart toys are all capable of collecting information about users. This includes children under 13. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission charged electronic toymaker VTech with collecting personal data on hundreds of thousands of children without parent consent or knowledge. It was also alleged that a hacker gained access to that data during a security breach in 2015. Amazon’s popular children’s tablet, the Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition, can share a child’s private information with third parties for advertising purposes while not deleting the data it stores.

Keeping Kids Safe

Onward and upward to the toy store! If you are shopping for kids this holiday season, our NH injury lawyers urge you to be sure to keep this safety checklist handy – and check it twice.

  • Toys with sound: If a toy is too loud for you, it could be loud enough to damage your child’s hearing. Test toys to make sure the sound level isn’t painful. 
  • Ingredients: Read labels on the back of toys to look for dangerous ingredients or chemicals. If these substances are ingested your child could get very sick.
  • Toys with small parts:  Toys marketed to children six and above may contain small parts that pose choking hazards for younger children. Look for age guidelines. “Hatching” toys are very popular, but the break-apart packaging can create very small pieces. Before your child plays with a toy for the first time, see if smaller parts fit through a toilet paper roll. This is a great test to indicate if there is a possible choking hazard.
  • Smart Toys: Sites, apps, games and smart toys might be collecting private data from your child  and could be hacked. Always evaluate privacy policies before using, and monitor any data requested on your child. 
  • Makeup: “Children’s” makeup is not considered a toy, so it is not regulated at the same level. Avoid makeup for kids.
  • Previously owned or older toys: Search for recalls on older toys to ensure a safe gift.

Contact the Experienced NH Injury Lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman

If you have been injured by another person’s careless acts, contact the experienced NH injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 232-7278 and by email at info@MZLawNH.com. You may also use the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

It is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

NH Injury Lawyers
Manchester Injury Attorneys

Manchester Injury Attorneys Discuss Healthcare Marketing

Unethical Practices Taint Some Healthcare Marketing

Ad spending by drug companies has doubled in the past four years

The Manchester injury attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law know that when a doctor writes a prescription, most of us assume we’ll walk out of the pharmacy with the drug best suited for the diagnosis. But what if the doctor chose a new drug based on a big marketing push by the manufacturer? Or maybe it’s the other way around. Patients often request a particular brand-name drug after seeing hundreds of television ads. These ads often have actors or well-known celebrities vouching for its effectiveness.

So far in 2018, pharmaceutical companies have shelled out $2.8 billion to run direct-to-consumer television ads touting the benefits of about 70 prescription drugs. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of television ads for medications grew 65 percent as companies increasingly target the exploding and lucrative baby boomer market.

The drug companies are not alone in playing the healthcare advertising sweepstakes. Hospitals are spending more than ever on advertising and, as with other products, that advertising is filled with lots of promises, according to a professor of marketing at Northwestern University. “So a hospital can go out and say, ‘This is where miracles happen. And here’s Joe. Joe was about to die. And now Joe is going to live forever.’ ”

Pushing the Ethical Boundaries

Some healthcare marketing and advertising crosses the line. Patient advocates both inside and outside the healthcare industry believe this distorts the truth about risk and effectiveness. Before pushing for a new medication advertised on television, consider the following:

Some celebrities endorse drugs or treatments without always saying they were paid to do so

  • Where are you getting your information? Glossy ads can be tempting. Online forums can be full of disinformation. Choose your sources carefully. For example, a 2014 study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that 90 percent of Wikipedia articles concerning the 10 costliest medical conditions contained inaccurate data. Keep in mind that Wikipedia articles can be edited by anyone, including people working for healthcare companies.
  • Who is selling you a medication or medical device? Celebrity endorsements are all the rage these days, from beauty products to insurance to – you guessed it – medications and remedies. A friendly and famous face may say he or she is promoting a new drug or treatment because of personal conviction, but what they might not be saying is they are often getting paid big bucks to do so. Truth in Advertising (TINA), a nonprofit that works to protect consumers from false advertising, filed formal complaints against GOOP, a lifestyle company run by Gwyneth Paltrow. They cite 51 examples of what they consider unsafe treatments, and argue that GOOP “does not possess the competent and reliable scientific evidence required by law to make such claims.”
  • Are the promises you hear vague or overly positive? Patients of difficult and even fatal diseases criticize what they see as overly positive ads for medications and treatments. These advertisements often feature happy, healed patients and their families with stories of miraculous recovery. But many patients say the ads spread false hope, or worse yet, make them feel as though they are still sick because of their own failings rather than the reality of their illnesses.
  • Is that new medication really necessary? When new drugs are patented and hit the market, they can only be sold exclusively for limited periods of time. Once a generic version is available, the price drops dramatically. This means that the manufacturers of brand-name medications need to push the new drug as aggressively as possible. They do this to recoup their investment and hit earnings targets. It also means that some companies create new medications that studies show are really not that different than existing medications. This is done so they can slap on a new name and start the brand-name marketing cycle all over again.
  • Is your doctor receiving money or perks from pharmaceutical companies? A ProPublica study revealed that doctors who receive money or meals from drug and device makers – even just small gifts – prescribe a higher percentage of brand-name drugs overall than doctors who don’t. Check out Dollars for Docs, a website that tracks payments made to healthcare professionals and facilities.

Cutting Through the Advertising Clutter

Our Manchester injury attorneys recommend asking, “Who can be trusted for good information about various healthcare treatments and medications?”

Talk to your doctor first. Ask about the side effects of a particular medication. Also ask if there is a generic available, and if they have experience with the recommended medication or treatment. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself if you feel as though you are being pushed into something unnecessary. That might also mean getting a second opinion. See more questions for your doctor here.

Do some of your own research as well, starting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Click here to check approvals and to see if a medication has been recalled. Then instead of a random Google search, look for healthcare websites that have a reputation for independence and trusted information. Examples include WebMD or Mayo Clinic.

Major news organizations will often run investigative stories about drugs or treatments with a suspicious background. They also investigate questionable relationships between those advocating a particular medication and the manufacturers.

And finally, the Manchester injury attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law  recommend that you be skeptical about the promises you hear made in healthcare advertising and marketing. As an executive director of Breast Cancer Action put it: “It’s the basics of marketing. In order to sell products and services, you have to sell hope.” In other words, buyer beware.

Contact Experienced Manchester Injury Attorneys for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured by another person’s careless acts, contact the experienced Manchester injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 232-7278 and by email at info@MZLawNH.com. You may also use the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

It is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

Manchester injury attorneys

Share the Road: Motorcycle Accidents Can Be Prevented

Please Share the Road to Help Prevent Motorcycle Accidents

Fall is a beautiful time of year, especially here in the great state of New Hampshire. With the foliage comes more traffic to the roads, especially motorcycles. So it’s time to ask yourself if you are sharing the road and taking strides to help end motorcycle accidents.

The Truth Hurts

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016 there were 5,286 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes nationwide. This is a 5 percent increase from 2015 (5,029). Motorcycle deaths have been on a steady increase over the last three years. Motorcycle death related accidents have accounted for 14 percent of total highway fatalities.

It is incredibly important for both motorists and riders to share the road and to take precautions to avoid fatal accidents.

What Motorists Need to Know

Driving a motorcycle and driving a car are two vastly different experiences. All motorists need to be aware of  safety challenges faced by motorcyclists.  The size and visibility on a motorcycle are completely different of that in a vehicle. Motorcycle riding practices also alter the reaction time speed and results.

Research and State-level data has  identified that other motorists (not the motorcycle driver) are at-fault in more than half of all multi-vehicle motorcycle-involved accidents. Not to mention that NHTSA-funded research has shown that people behind the wheels of passenger vehicles are distracted more than 50 percent of the time. It cannot be stressed enough that, not only for motorcyclists’ safety, but for everyone on the road, distracted driving is detrimental and fatal in many instances.

Motorcyclists Take Action

All motorcyclists need to be prepared and defensive drivers on the road. Pay attention to your surroundings and other drivers on the road. Take into consideration weather and temperatures upon riding. During fall, wet leaves can lead to slick conditions while riding. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to use a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet. Doing so just might save your life!

They’re Not Just Warnings, it’s Real Life

As we regularly represent motorcyclists and their families, the motorcycle accidents attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman are grateful for the family of Michael Phelps. Michael was a beloved retired teacher from Concord who was killed on his motorcycle by a distracted driver. His family has shared his story (below) in an effort to help educate others and saves lives.  No one ever assumes they will be in a horrific accident and no one ever thinks they could ever be the cause of one. The sad truth is it happens. The personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning and Zimmerman ask everyone to please end distracted driving to help save lives.

Contact Experienced New Hampshire Motorcycle Accidents Attorneys for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured by another person’s careless acts, contact the experienced NH motorcycle accidents lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 556-4685 and by email at info@MZLawNH.com. You may also use the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

It is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

NH motorcycle accidents lawyers