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service members

Fighting for the Service Members Who Fight for Us

Service Members Are Vulnerable to Scams, Sickness, and Subpar Healthcare

Military Injury Attorney in New Hampshire
Forty-four percent of service members are under 25, making them financially inexperienced

There are more than two million active and reserve service members of the Unites States armed forces. Their situation is unique; many are young and financially inexperienced and are often and frequently relocated or deployed. They sometimes face difficultly accessing phones or the Internet.

Sadly, these vulnerabilities have made them a target for small and large businesses alike that prey on soldiers. Even when soldiers turn to their government for aid, they aren’t always given the support they need. Fighting for Those Who Fight for Us is a troubling new report by the American Association for Justice that reveals what our military members endure – and highlights how we can help them. Here are a few of the big takeaways from that report.

Targets of Predatory Financial Services

Military personnel and their families face many of the same financial management challenges as civilians. This includes budgeting, paying bills, retirement planning, and debt management. However, being in the military also involves unique circumstances that can make managing household finances even more difficult: deployments, frequent changes of station, and prolonged separation from family. Changes of station can also affect the job security of spouses and other family members. This makes predatory lending practices and illegal financial scams all the more damaging for our service members.

One in three service members have resorted to some sort of non-bank borrowing organization, such as payday lenders and rent-to-own retail chains. These companies set up shop around military bases and sometimes misuse official government logos to look more legitimate. Contracts look straightforward but usually include hidden fees and exorbitant interest rates.

In 2007, Congress passed the Military Lending Act (MLA) to stop lenders from charging extremely high interest rates. Nevertheless, unscrupulous lenders continue to victimize service members by ignoring or circumventing the law. And it’s not just small payday companies getting in on the action. Large financial corporations like Prudential, Bank of America, and Capital One have settled class action suits with military personnel over questionable practices like profiting on life insurance benefits after veterans have died, charging higher-than-legal interest rates, and denying reprieve from foreclosure and repossession while soldiers are on active duty.

Victims of Medical Malpractice

The Feres doctrine is a little-known 1950 Supreme Court decision that has caused suffering for thousands of service members and veterans. Feres v. United States effectively bars non-combatant active-duty service members from collecting damages from the U.S. Government when injured or killed by the negligence of others. This means that there is nowhere for service members to turn when faced with illness, pain, and suffering if they receive poor medical care while serving our country. An example from the report includes a woman left with multiple instruments inside her body after surgery. Other examples include a misdiagnosed skin cancer that ended in death, and an appendix surgery gone so wrong that it resulted in a brain-dead father of two. Patients recount experiences of medical horror with no legal recourse and no way to bring providers to justice.

Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

Military Injury Attorney in New Hampshire

Most of us have heard of Agent Orange, a herbicide used to clear jungles during the Vietnam War. For years, the military denied links between this deadly toxin and exposed soldiers suffering from cancer, birth defects, and more. It has also been well documented that service members and veterans face serious risks for developing asbestos-related diseases. This is a result of the historical presence of asbestos in buildings, ships, and other locations. These diseases include mesothelioma, a deadly and aggressive cancer.

Today’s Agent Orange story includes the more than 250 open-air burn pits used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of waste. Currently there are more than 175,000 veterans and service members who have registered on the VA’s Burn Pit Registry, suffering from an array of illnesses, including cancer, respiratory problems, and blood disorders. But even as the Burn Pit Registry grows, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is still denying that there is scientific evidence proving the connection between military burn pits and health problems. Lawmakers are working to make documentation and research more readily available for possible burn pit victims, all in an effort to provide service members, both past and present, with the benefits they deserve.

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

These are just a few examples of shameful behavior by corporations and others toward our servicemen and women. Others include military pension buyout scams, improper firings, human experimentation, and opioid abuse. If you or a member of your family serves in the military, take a minute to read the full report here.

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 personal injury 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 experienced NH personal 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.  Committed to Justice.

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Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss Foodborne Illness

Tainted Lettuce and Beef Lead Increase in Foodborne Illness

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Bagged salad may be convenient but it is a breeding ground for bacteria

According to the personal injury attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law, in early 2018, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported an outbreak of E. coli found in romaine lettuce. The outbreak sickened nearly 200 people and killed five. Right before Thanksgiving, another outbreak caused the CDC to recall all romaine, fresh and bagged. In the fall, more than 19 million pounds of ground beef were recalled in three separate salmonella outbreaks.

Is our food out to get us? If you think you’re seeing more reports of foodborne illness these days, you’re right. So why are these reports increasing, and what can you do about it?

Shift in Food Culture and Economy

The boost in foodborne illness can be traced to one source: our changing food habits. New diets, a complex food economy and advanced technology are all part of the American food culture. Three key parts of how we consume food are causing more outbreaks:

  1. Healthy, easy eating. The deadliest illness offender? Produce. While food sickness is usually associated with tainted meat, it’s fruits and veggies that are the most often contaminated – especially greens like lettuce and spinach. Cooking can kill dangerous pathogens, leaving raw produce more susceptible. A stronger focus on a health-conscious diet has encouraged consumers to buy more greens. And the easiest way to purchase your leafy sustenance? Bagged salads. Millions of pounds of greens are cut, washed and then bagged for your convenience. But once those greens are in a bag, they are introduced to a moist and enclosed breeding ground for bacteria. The packaging process also makes it more difficult to find the cause of contamination and prevent more people from getting sick. Different lettuces grown at different farms are all mixed together into bags that are distributed to supermarkets and restaurants all over the country. This makes it harder for food safety officials to find a common link among farms and suppliers.
  2. Imported food. A global economy and adventurous tastes have encouraged more food imports than ever before. Currently, 80 percent of all seafood in the U.S. is imported. Half of our fruits and a third of our vegetables are imported, with estimates that this number will increase by 45 percent in the next decade. Access to healthy, inexpensive food is a great benefit of imports, but imported food is harder to regulate and track. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) only samples about 1 percent of all food imports. Cases of food fraud in places like China and Costa Rica raise many questions about the safety of what is brought into the U.S.
  3. Better technology and reporting. The good news? Higher numbers of food illness reports can actually mean food is getting safer. About 1,600 deaths from foodborne illness happen each year where the pathogen is unknown, and they are classified as sporadic. The CDC is getting better at analyzing the links between various outbreaks, which helps them identify the source, announce recalls and prevent more illness. In 2008, the public-health community began using a new method of DNA fingerprinting called whole genome sequencing, which has led to a large spike in detected outbreaks. According to Benjamin Chapman, a professor of food safety at North Carolina State University, “We’re getting better at detecting the outbreaks, and there are better-trained public-health individuals now looking to solve foodborne illness outbreaks than we’ve ever had.”

Tips for Food Safety in Your Home

If you’re going out to eat, do your best to find out if the restaurant is clean. Check on the ways restaurants are rated with this guide. However, most food contamination starts in the home. The CDC recommends four steps to prevent foodborne illness:

  1. Clean: Wash hands and surfaces before and after handling food, but also after using the bathroom, handling pets or tending to a sick person. Wash all produce thoroughly before consumption.
  2. Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate. Use separate cutting boards for meat and produce, and always wash thoroughly after use. Throw out old or difficult to clean cutting boards. Do not use platters or plates for cooked food that previously held raw food.
  3. Cook: Cook to proper temperatures. Use a food thermometer to cook your food to the safe minimum internal temperature and always wash it after use.
  4. Chill: Refrigerate food promptly in airtight containers. Use up leftovers quickly.

Contact Experienced Personal 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 experienced personal injury attorneys 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 experienced NH personal 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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NH Injury Lawyers Discuss Surgery Centers

Surgery Centers Not Reporting Deadly Complications

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

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.

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Steps to Take After a Car Accident in New Hampshire

nh injury attorneysEven minor car crashes can be unsettling. And you’ll probably be pumped up with adrenaline and emotion for a while afterward. So while you may think common sense will guide you after a car crash, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself ahead of time by keeping these tips in mind. Below, the New Hampshire Car Accident Attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC discusses 7 steps to take after a car accident:

Step 1: Stop and Pull Over

Hit-and-run can be a felony if someone is injured or killed in the accident, so don’t immediately leave the scene. Stop and pull over to the side of the road if you can. Be sure to turn on your hazard lights if you can. These actions increase the safety of the accident scene while making it easier for other motorists to pass.

Step 2: Check to See If Anyone is Hurt

Don’t get out of the car yet. Check your passengers for injuries and have them do the same for you. If you’re alone, check yourself carefully. In the aftermath of a collision, an adrenaline surge may temporarily mask the pain of some injuries. If you see and feel nothing major, wait until it’s safe to get out of your car before doing so.

Check with the occupants of the other car(s) involved. If the accident caused any injuries, call 911. Render first aid if necessary, but try not to move anyone unless you know they’re in danger.

Until everyone is safe and the authorities have arrived, don’t worry about trying to assign fault or blame.

Step 3: Call the Police If Necessary

Even if it’s not an emergency, you may need to call the police to inform them about the accident. This won’t be necessary if you’re on a busy or regularly patrolled road. If you’re on a low-traffic road or rural highway, call them as soon as possible. Don’t call 911 unless it really is an emergency. You can get the local police station’s phone number from Information.

Step 4: Swap Contact and Insurance Info

While you’re waiting, exchange insurance and contact information with all other drivers. This is one of the most important steps to take after a car accident, as it will eventually come in handy in your accident claim. Get all names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and plate numbers. If someone decides to leave the scene, try to get their license number. It may also help your insurance claim later if you can get contact information from any passengers in the other car(s).

Step 5: Take Notes and Photos

Document the crash. Don’t worry about offending anyone. Take notes on paper or on your phone’s notes app. Include where the accident occurred, the drivers involved, your car’s damage, and any injuries. Try to get the names of all the passengers and witnesses. Include the road conditions and any road hazards. Get the names and badge numbers of the police officers who respond, too. Take photos of everything above, especially your injuries and vehicle damage.

Step 6: Ask for a Police Report

Most insurers consider the officers who handle a scene to be reliable, solid sources of information. Ask them for a police report at the scene. They should be able to tell you when it will be ready and how you can get a copy. This can help you when you make your claim.

Step 7: Call Your Insurance Agent

Contact your insurance agent ASAP. If they’re unavailable, leave a message. When they call you back, they’ll fill you in on what to do next.

Learn More About Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Because auto damages can range into the thousands of dollars — and injury claims can go even higher — some insurance companies will do all they can to minimize or avoid paying a claim. If you get a low settlement offer, they deny your claim, or you feel you’ve been unfairly found at fault, we may be able to help. Talking to an experienced New Hampshire car accident lawyer may be one of the most important steps to take after a car accident.

For a free consultation, contact the NH injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 624-7200 or by email at info@MZLawNH.com. We may also be contacted by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

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The NH injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law invite you to subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter.

texting while driving

Texting While Driving: It CAN Wait

According to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015 distracted driving was responsible for 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries.

NHTSA also estimated that, in 2011, 660,000 drivers were using an electronic device while behind the wheel. Nearly 3,500 people were killed because of texting while driving. So, was it worth it? Of course not!

texting while driving

What Can Cause Distraction?

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: Taking your mind off the road

These three distractions are all involved when texting while driving. Reading or sending a text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.5 seconds. This doesn’t sound like very long now does it? But taking your eyes off the road for just 4.5 seconds while traveling an average of 55 mph  would be equal to driving the entire length of a football field…blind folded! These distractions played a crucial role in the New Hampshire law, known as the Hands-Free Law, that went into effect on July 1, 2015. This law was designed to create safer conditions for everyone on the road. The bottom line is that no one can multitask enough to make texting and driving safe. Drive now text later, it will save lives.

Our New Hampshire distracted driving crash lawyers can provide assistance in the event of an injury caused by a texting or cell-phone using driver.

It Could Happen to You

This is the story about two individuals whose lives changed in the matter of seconds. Chad Belleville of Barnstead, NH was driving to pick up his order of Chinese food on December 23rd, 2010 when he looked down at his phone to read a text.

“The next thing you know, I crashed,” he told state troopers.

In the time that Belleville looked down at his phone to read a text, he crossed over the median line, nearly missing one car before plowing into the next. In that car was 17 year-old D.W. Flanders who was ejected from the vehicle. D.W. suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of the crash, leaving him developmentally incapacitated and wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. The young man who once dreamed about joining the Marines was now working on relearning the alphabet.

David Rothstein, Belleville’s lawyer, said that this was a case “where you say, ‘Gosh, I might have done that. I have done that.’’’

The New Hampshire Supreme Court unanimously upheld the conviction of second-degree assault. Belleville was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

Belleville said in response to this tragedy, “Texting and driving is like playing Russian roulette. It’s not if but when.”

Drive Now Text Later

If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving crash that was no fault of your own, contact the Law Office of Manning and Zimmerman at (603) 624-7200. Our attorneys are here to fight for you.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

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

Was Your Car Insurance Claim Denied?

Car Insurance Claim Denied New HampshireWas your car insurance claim denied by the other driver’s carrier after a recent crash? If so, you’re probably confused and unsure of what steps to take next. Car crashes are expensive, and if you or someone else suffered injuries, the costs can run into tens of thousands of dollars. Few of us have that much money available.

If you were careful to take notes, speak with the police, and cooperate with the insurer, and your car insurance claim was still denied, you may be wondering, “Now what?”

In this article, we’ll help you answer that question by explaining why your car insurance claim may have been denied. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC today.

Why Your Claim May Have Been Denied

While insurance companies are picky, they also tend to be very careful, if only because they don’t want you to sue them. Most of them will work with you in good faith to try to get your claim resolved ASAP. However, sometimes there are hiccups in the process.

The main reasons an insurance company may deny your car insurance claim is because it either hopes you won’t pursue the claim any farther and will just go away, or it thinks the claim lacks merit. They may be relying on an unreliable witness or some other form of evidence you lack. Even if their driver was totally at fault, they won’t admit it. Their primary evidence may be the other driver anyway, and their story is almost always going to contradict yours — especially if they lack a police report.

Other reasons for an insurance claim denial are more feasible. They include:

  • Exclusions. The at-fault driver may have provisions in their policy whereby the insurance company can get out of paying you. The most common is the “acts of God” exclusion, where they claim a natural event actually caused the crash. They can argue there was a bad storm when the crash occurred and was not the result of their driver’s wrongdoing.
  • Lapsed Policy. The insurer can refuse to pay if their driver failed to pay their premium on time and had no coverage when the crash occurred. At this point, your own uninsured or underinsured motorist provision may have to pick up the slack.
  • Failure to Notify. Most car insurance policies specify a certain time-frame during which you must report the crash. If you fail to do so, they may deny your claim when you do. Always report a crash to both insurers ASAP.

What to Do If Your Claim Is Denied

You’ll need an experienced NH car crash attorney to help you fight the insurance company on a denied claim. Usually, the process starts with a demand letter, which includes:

  • Your side of the story in detail.
  • The total cost of your vehicle damages.
  • Your medical expenses.
  • Your argument as to why the other driver was responsible.

Once your NH injury attorney has prepared and sent a demand letter to the insurance company, they either have to provide you with a specific reason they denied your car insurance claim, pay you the full amount, or make you a smaller offer.

What Is the Appeals Process?

If the insurance company’s response does not satisfy you, your New Hampshire injury lawyer at Manning & Zimmerman Law  can engage in an appeals process. Some states require a formal appeals process for all denied claims. New Hampshire isn’t one of them, but it does require insurance companies to provide at least one level of appeal, and ideally two. Either way, you’ll have a better chance of negotiating a settlement.

If the appeal system fails, you can still file a lawsuit against the insurance company. Discuss this with your injury lawyer before you finalize this decision. It may be the best option under the circumstances, though your injury attorney will be sure to let you know if your chances of success are low. If that’s the case, or if the cost of a lawsuit will exceed what you could reasonably recover (assuming you win the case), then they’re likely to caution you against a lawsuit and trial.

Was Your Car Insurance Claim Denied? We Can Help

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.

NH Injury Lawyers