Recent Articles

“Loss of Chance” Doctrine Becoming National Trend in Malpractice Law

Minnesota Supreme Court recently deviated from its traditional rulings on malpractice claims to create a “loss of chance” doctrine, in which a patient is entitled to compensation if the negligence of a doctor can be proved to have decreased the patient’s chances of survival. Kayla and Joseph Dickhoff, the parents of a young girl with a rare form of muscle cancer, brought the case that inspired this decision. The Dickhoffs felt that Dr. Rachel Tolefsrud and her clinic had failed to diagnose their daughter’s suspicious lump, leading to her currently more difficult, painful, and expensive battle with the cancer.

The Court ruled that the defendants had been negligent and should be held liable for the girl’s lessened chances of recovery. Even though this case brought Minnesota to join the other 40 states with “loss of chance” doctrines, the ruling was split 3-2. The dissenting side argued that because a “loss of chance” did not deal with true causation of harm from specific actions, it should not be supported as a liability. Dissenting Judge Christopher Dietzen pointed out that even though the Dickhoffs’ child had worsened and was currently struggling to beat her cancer, who could say with total confidence that it was a result of negligence or just the natural progression of the disease?

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts was the first to rule for “loss of chance” in 2008. They saw the doctrine not as another pitfall for doctors, but as a reminder to provide quality medical services and heightened attention in order to avoid a medical mistake such as misdiagnosis. The Supreme Judicial Court had hoped the “loss of chance” doctrine would lend itself to overall reform in medicine.

Boot Camp Created for Aspiring Start-Ups

Creating a boot camp for eager entrepreneurs searching for the key to a successful start-up business organization sounds like the set up for a scam, but VentureCamp seems like the real deal. However, the camp is as much a start-up as the businesses it hopes to foster, partially inspired by the sprawling mansion which Chad Folkening found himself unable to live in or sell but still hearkened for a purpose.

The maiden voyage of VentureCamp began in June 2013, with twelve carefully selected businesspeople, just as many successful guest speakers, and one 26,000 square foot house nestled in the northeast side of Indianapolis, despite its neighbors’ opposition. The selected campers don’t pay a dime to attend the eight-week interactive seminar in which they’ll hear lectures, receive personal coaching, and eventually team up to develop genuine business plans to take back to the real world.

Naturally, the experience is being filmed reality television-style, following the participants around with cameras from the time they get up to the time they go to sleep. VentureCamp hopes to use the footage to advertise itself, privately or publicly. Participants don’t seem to mind, though. Constant surveillance is a small price to pay for the chance to take their start-up dreams and bring them to life.

Role of High Pressure in Explosions

When we speak of explosions, we usually think of dynamite or C4, but there are actually many types of explosions. The most common man-made type of explosion is chemical, to which dynamite and C4 as well as other flammable compounds belong. There are also electrical, nuclear and mechanical explosions. No matter what kind of explosion, there will always be heat, destruction, noise and pressure as by-products.

In the case of pressure, however, it can also be the cause of an explosion. In a chemical, nuclear or electrical explosion, pressure comes after the explosion, and the amount of pressure will depend on the magnitude of the explosion. In some instances, the pressure is so great that it creates a shock wave with rapidly expands from the epicenter of the explosion, usually causing massive destruction over a large area in a very short time.

In a mechanical explosion, however, pressure is necessary for the explosion to take place. Mechanical explosions are mainly due to the buildup of pressure within a confined space through the transformation of a liquid substance to gas through heating.

A good example would be throwing a tin can in the fire. If the can is not vented, the contents of the can will expand as it heats up because the liquid is being turned into gas, which has a higher volume, and it has nowhere to go. This increase in volume may happen slowly or fast, but unless there is a reduction in the heat source, the integrity of the tin can will eventually fail, resulting in a rapid release of pressure localized at the point of rupture or failure. This high pressure release can cause the container to fragment, sending projectiles in every direction.

This type of explosion is duplicated, albeit in a larger scale, in boiler room explosions. The Boston Marathon explosion was also a mechanical explosion. In some instances, there may also be a chemical explosion resulting from a mechanical one, such as the heating of pressurized aerosol cans of hair spray, or propane tanks. Heating these containers may cause the liquid inside to expand, but the explosion may set off a chemical reaction i.e. ignite the flammable gas thus increasing the resulting heat and pressure which would make it much more devastating.

High pressure is a destructive force when it comes to explosions. Under controlled, circumstances, however, it can be used for good. An example would be a combustion engine, in which controlled chemical explosions turn fuel into mechanical energy. Without high pressure, many of the processes we take for granted would not be possible.

Having a Heart Attack Does Not Get You Out of Car Crash Fines

The carelessness rule that governs most of personal injury liability says that in an accident between two people, the more careless person should compensate the less careless one. However, in the recent case of a 20-year-old New Jersey man, Dan Langley, who caused a car wreck because he was struck by a heart attack while driving, could you label him as being careless?

Police officers who rushed to the scene saved the man’s life by immediately performing CPR, but then slapped him with three tickets for causing the wreck. Langley’s doctor was uneasy about the fines and felt more consideration was due to the situation. The CBS New York article covering the incident discloses that the man’s doctor “wrote the court a note, asking to forgive Langley for having the heart attack which caused the wreck”, which reads a bit like a parent asking a school to forgive their child’s absence because he had the flu.

Luckily for Langley, the court did finally consider his medical condition and the fact that there were no further injuries to anyone involved in the crash. They forgave two of the tickets, although they found him still responsible for a portion of the third ticket, which amounted to $133.

Maximum Hours of Driving Service: A Federal Order to Truck Drivers

Driving an 18-wheeler, which weighs about 80,000 lbs. or 40 tons and has a length of, at least, 70 feet is no easy task, especially if the job is done for more than 11 hours, night and / or day, anywhere. This is why drivers of large trucks are required to undergo additional training and education on proper handling and operation of these types of vehicles in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license or CDL. There is also a federal law that states how many hours a driver may drive continuously and the number of hours required for rest.

18-wheelers, also known as big-rigs, semis or tractor-trailers are commercial vehicles that carry loads of important cargo from one end of the state / country to another or from manufacturer to retailer; thus, these definitely render great service to the US economy. Yet, no matter how important the role these play, once on the road, these vehicles pose great danger due to their size and weight, so that even the least error can lead to devastating damages to properties and severe harm against innocent lives.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the US Department of Transportation, which is in charge of trucking and all other transportation-related industries, has issued regulations regarding the maximum driving hours or hours of service (HOS) of commercial drivers. Some of these regulations state that drivers of trucks:

  • Should not drive after rendering duty for 14 hours straight
  • Are allowed maximum driving time is 11 hours only, which is within the 14-consecutive-hour on-duty period
  • Ought to have 10 consecutive hours off-duty after his or her 14-hour service

A sleeper berth area is designed toward the back of the truck cab to allow drivers to take their much needed sleep when on the road. This will help them get over fatigue and drowsiness, especially when they need to strictly follow delivery schedules. Though some drivers may not admit it, but feeling drowsy while driving is very dangerous, in fact more dangerous than drunk-driving.

18-wheeler accidents happen daily in the US, though these can be avoided with the strict observance of the HOS order. If sleepiness is the reason behind an accident, then the victim has all the right to seek justice and compensation for all the accident-related injuries he or she will suffer from.