Kennewick Personal Injury Law Blog

Can I file a claim for lost spousal benefits?

"Loss of consortium" is the legal term used to describe lost spousal benefits. This category of damages relates to the losses suffered by the spouses of individuals who get hurt in accidents. These claims seek to remunerate spouses for the hardship and loss they've endured after losing the various benefits of having a spouse with them in house and home.

Some of the damages that may fall under the category of loss of consortium include:

Benton boat captains: Don't boat under the influence this summer

Benton boating enthusiasts commonly pair boating with beer and other alcoholic beverages. One might even suspect that boating is just an excuse for getting drunk for some people. Such an attitude is extremely irresponsible and dangerous -- in fact, it's criminal. Boaters who cause the death or severe injury of others due to irresponsible boating under the influence may end up in jail and financially liable for the damages they cause.

Local authorities in Franklin and Benton Counties have fortunately taken notice. Area law enforcement officials will be out in full force this summer looking for boaters who are violating boating under the influence laws. It's hoped that these increased enforcement efforts will bring more awareness to the criminal consequences drunk and high boaters face and help discourage the behavior.

Newly issued automotive recall affects 507,000 Kias

Have you ever been involved in a serious car accident that caused the air bag to deploy in your vehicle? Maybe the air bag even saved your life. Imagine what could have happened if the air bag failed to deploy. This is exactly the problem that Kia identified in 507,000 of its vehicles in the United States. According to the automaker, hundreds of thousands of its U.S. vehicles have air bags that could fail to deploy in the event of a serious collision.

Although there haven't been reports of these air bags exploding and shooting hot metal shrapnel into the passenger compartments – like other defective Takata air bags – the failure of these air bags to deploy has already resulted in four deaths and six injuries. These injuries and deaths involved both Kia and Hyundai vehicles that were equipped with these faulty air bags.

Is everyone in your family buckling up?

In 20 percent of the motor vehicle accident fatalities in Washington, the person who died wasn't wearing a seatbelt. This is unfortunate because there's a high likelihood that these fatalities wouldn't have happened if the victim made smart choice to buckle up. Other Washington state statistics show that 5 percent of drivers don't wear seat belts when they get behind the wheel.

Police throughout Washington are trying to encourage more drivers and passengers to use seat belts in its "Click It or Ticket" seat belt awareness campaign. The state Traffic Safety Commission carries out the Click It or Ticket campaign every year for the purpose of educating drivers and the general public about the importance of seat belt use.

Common types of medical malpractice

It doesn't matter whether you're sick, healthy or somewhere in between, anyone who visits a doctor can become a victim of medical malpractice if the doctor makes obvious mistakes, overlooks important factors or recommends dangerous medical procedures while administering care. Make sure you understand the many ways that medical malpractice can occur so you and your loved ones don't become victims.

Here are a few of the most common types of medical malpractice:

  • Medication errors: A doctor could prescribe medication that conflicts with another medication the patient is currently taking. Alternatively, the doctor might prescribe or administer too much or too little medication, the wrong medication or a medication that the patient is allergic to.
  • Negligently administered anesthesia: Anesthesiologists fulfill a vital role to ensure that an anesthetized patient receives just the right amount of drugs to stay unconscious and healthy throughout a surgery. One false move on the part of the anesthesiologist and the patient could die or suffer catastrophic health complications.
  • Wrong-site surgical errors: Have you ever heard of a doctor operating on the wrong body part? These kinds of mistakes happen a lot more often than you might think.
  • Surgical complications: When surgeons enter the body to perform a procedure, a mistake could lead to catastrophic health consequences if a doctor disrupts a vulnerable organ, artery or hurts another part of the body.
  • Surgical souvenirs: Surgical souvenirs are foreign objects left behind by surgeons after performing a surgical procedure.
  • Misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses: Improper analysis of a patient's symptoms could lead to the wrong diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, resulting in an easy-to-treat disease condition turning into a potentially-fatal health calamity.

Motorcycle safety: 4 things to avoid

There are reams of articles about motorcycle safety and what you should do to avoid crashes. However, sometimes it's what you don't do that's the most important. Take the following four things, for example. Refraining from these "motorcycle don't's" could save your life and your passengers' lives.

The four "don't's" of motorcycle safety are:

  1. Drinking alcohol and driving your motorcycle: Driving a motorcycle while intoxicated by alcohol is a major factor in many bike crashes. Intoxicated drivers also have a higher chance of not using a motorcycle helmet (see item number four). The safest bet is to refrain from riding your bike after consuming any quantity of alcohol.
  2. Driving faster than the speed limit: Speed limits exist for a reason. When you follow them you'll be less likely to crash, and – if you do get into a crash – there's a higher chance that you and your passenger will survive.
  3. Riding a super sport bike: It's not really fair to say "don't ride a sport bike." These motorcycles are extremely exciting, fun and, for many, they're the ultimate riding experience. However, sport bike riders have a four times higher chance of death than other motorcyclists. If you're new to biking, consider starting on something more conservative. If you're a parent, you might not want to let your teenager ride a super sport bike.
  4. Failing to wear a helmet: Wearing a helmet should be obvious, but it's worth mentioning that a properly fitted helmet is the best way to prevent death and catastrophic injury if you're involved in a collision.

How many people die from sleepy driving every year?

There's no reason good enough for anyone to get behind the wheel when they're sleepy, but numerous Americans depend on automobile transportation. Driving their cars while fatigued or sleepy may be the only way these motorists have of getting from A to B. This certainly doesn't make the behavior justified, and it certainly won't exonerate an at-fault driver who causes a fatal crash because he or she fell asleep while driving.

Statistics about sleepy driving

Fertility doctor impregnated woman with his genetic material

A 36-year-old woman recently filed a lawsuit that claims her mother's fertility doctor impregnated her mother with his own genetic material, and -- as a result -- the doctor is her biological father. The Washington woman discovered that the doctor was her father after she submitted her DNA for testing through the Ancestry website. Her genetic sample revealed that her biological father was a reproductive specialist from Idaho.

The 36-year-old woman claimed medical negligence, fraud and battery in her lawsuit, which claims that the doctor intentionally used his sperm to impregnate the woman's mother. Both her mother and -- her now presumed nonbiological father -- went to the fertility doctor for assistance in the early 1980s after they had difficulty producing a child.

How do car accidents happen?

A car accident can happen in an unlimited number of ways but there are some circumstances that personal injury lawyers see time and time again. The saddest fact about the following car accident causes, however, is not that they happen on a regular basis but that most of them should be completely avoidable if motorist followed traffic laws, stayed attentive and practiced defensive driving techniques -- and if municipalities took better care of our roads.

With this in mind, here are the top causes of car accidents that you should try to avoid in Washington:

Hyundai says 44,000 cars could have risky steering wheel problems

Every man-made product was designed and manufactured by a person or organization of people. Furthermore, in the modern world -- as a result of consumer protection laws -- each of these manufactured products has a legal expectation attached to it: It doesn't pose an unreasonable risk to the safety of the consumers who purchase it. The problem is, there are many products that don't meet this expectation and unknown consumers are at risk of getting hurt by them.

One such defective product was recently revealed: The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport SUVs. Hyundai voluntarily instituted a roughly 44,000-vehicle recall relating to these vehicles in the United States, saying that their steering wheels are at risk of popping off while drivers are trying to navigate traffic -- a problem that would send the vehicles careening out of control.

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Reinig, Barber & Henry - Attorneys at Law

Reinig, Barber & Henry
114 Vista Way
Kennewick, WA 99336

Phone: 509-735-0535
Fax: 509-783-7001
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