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Litigation Funding Blog

Swallowing Too Much Water Can Kill

December 21, 2009

Two years have passed since the highly unusual death of 28-year old Jennifer Strange from drinking too much water.

It was a case that rocked the legal landscape and rightfully so, as it involved a very unusual manner of wrongful death; death by consuming too much water, or water intoxication. “This isn’t something that happens too often, and this wrongful death left three young children without a mother, and a grieving husband behind,” said Daren Monroe, Litigation Funding Corporation, Southfield, Michigan.

It started out innocently enough when Jennifer entered a local radio station contest to win a Wii. The whole idea behind the contest was that those entered were to drink as much water as possible without urinating. If they won, they’d win a Nintendo Wii gaming console. What a perfect prize for Jennifer’s three kids.

The contest went as expected, with everyone drinking copious quantities of water. “Jennifer downed just about two gallons in just over three hours. She did so in good spirits, but did complain to the disc jockey’s that she was in pain,” Monroe added. She didn’t win the Nintendo Wii; she took second place and won a pair of concert tickets.

During the show there were a number of phone calls from listeners, issuing warnings that drinking too much water was dangerous and could cause death. Evidently at some point, one of the disc jockeys expressed awareness of the proposed danger, but contestants had signed a waiver, relieving the station of responsibility. After the contest was over, Jennifer left, called in sick to work, went home and died in her bathroom.

“When the case finally came to trial, two years later, plaintiff won a verdict in the amount of $16.5 million for Jennifer’s wrongful death,” explained Monroe. The husband expressed hope that the verdict will send a message to other corporations and to the public that this type of “accident” was preventable; the radio station had ample information about the possibility of water intoxication death, months prior to the contest, and proceeded anyway.

The defense suggested Jennifer should bear responsibility for knowing that drinking water, excessively, could be deadly. However, the plaintiff’s attorney pointed out she acted as any normal person would in the same situation. The jury found the phone calls to the station the most damning evidence against the station in reaching their decision to award damages to the plaintiff.

“Over the last two years, the victim’s husband has been taking life one day at a time, one step at a time. Trying to live without his wife and the mother of his three small children has been difficult to say the least. The family financial responsibilities had to be met; expenses for three small children are never ending,” added Monroe.

In other words, life goes on. The family had to struggle with funeral expenses while coping with the loss of a loving companion and parent. “It was a difficult time for them; lawsuit funding might have eased their financial burden during difficult financial and emotional times, while waiting for justice through settlement or jury verdict,” commented Daren Monroe, Litigation Funding Corporation, Southfield, Michigan.

People in situations similar to that faced by the Stranges may be eligible for cash advances against their personal injury or wrongful death cases. Litigation funding alleviates the pressure to settle early and cheaply; it gives the attorney precious time to pursue the case and ensure the fairest possible outcome for the plaintiff,” stated Monroe.

To learn more about lawsuit funding and litigation funding, visit Litigationfundingcorp.com.

Eight Years Later the Verdict Is Rendered

December 15, 2009

It was a difficult case that involved years of appeals, but the case was eventually affirmed.

In 2001, registered nurse, Yuko Yamamoto, was hit by a taxi cab and knocked to the ground. She sustained serious injuries to her neck. Oddly enough, when she filed her lawsuit attempting to recover damages for pain and suffering, a judge said no trial was needed to deal with liability issues because it was obvious the cab driver caused the accident and was therefore at fault.

Since the question of liability was not at issue, the only issue that went to a jury was what amount of damages should she be awarded? “In this instance, as in a great many cases where neck injuries are involved, the jury is not able to “see” the damages and this may often mean a lower settlement because it doesn’t “look” all that bad, indicated Daren Monroe, Litigation Funding Corporation, Southfield, Michigan.

Even with medical records that tracked her injuries and the significant pain that accompanies those injuries, a ride to the hospital in an ambulance, negative x-rays and her release home within a few hours, the jury struggled with an award. “There was proof of follow-up medical care, missed work, extensive chiropractic treatments, the results of a nerve conduction study, and an MRI that showed herniations and bulges at C3 through 7. There was pain and weakness, a 50% loss of extension and no surgery slated by the time of the trial,” outlined Monroe. However, none of this was observable at trial.

Unfortunately, many cases such as this get bounced out of the court room as judges feel the injuries detailed in the plaintiff’s lawsuit don’t meet what is referred to as the serious injury threshold required in car accidents in the state of New York, where this case was filed. Fortunately, even though the defendant asked to have the case dismissed, the judge on appeal held there was indeed enough evidence for a jury to come to the conclusion that the nurse’s injuries did meet the statutory standard.

“At this trial, the jury awarded $175,000 despite a request for $500,000 and despite the jury finding she had a significant limitation of her cervical spine and permanent limitation to the cervical spine. No money was awarded for future pain and suffering,” Monroe explained. On appeal the plaintiff offered evidence that she would need continuing chiropractic care and testing for an unspecified period of time at the cost of roughly $6,000 a year. The Appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision; the original verdict stood, providing nothing for future pain and suffering.

While this may seem like an unusual conclusion – awarding damages for future medical expenses but nothing for pain and suffering – the appellate judge said the jury could have come to the conclusion that offering money for regular chiropractic adjustments would alleviate the nurse’s future pain. Interesting statement, but one that does not make much sense. Future suffering and pain should, absolutely, have been included in the award.

While all of the back and forth, legal wrangling was going on, Ms. Yamamoto had to pay her usual bills, not to mention the out-of-pocket expenses of ongoing chiropractic treatment. Even though she was able to carry on with some of her duties, do some housework and play with her child, her range of motion was significantly limited. “One thing she could have considered was accessing litigation funding. And certainly that option may still be open to her should she consider appealing once again,” Monroe added.

“Contacting a lawsuit financial company with a good reputation and qualifying for funding would make her wait a lot easier. Lawsuit funding removes the pressure to settle early and inexpensively and allows the attorney the time he/she needs to get the litigant the fairest possible result,” said Daren Monroe, Litigation Funding Corporation, Southfield, Michigan.

To learn more about lawsuit funding and litigation funding, visit Litigationfundingcorp.com.

Birth Injury Case Takes 8 Years to Settle

December 8, 2009

It shouldn’t have taken eight long years to settle, but it did. The Rutherford family of Janesville sued for medical malpractice and won.

The facts of this case are that the littlest member of the Rutherford family, Jared, was born in 2001 with shoulder dystocia, a result of medical negligence during labor and delivery. In this instance, the injury was permanent. Jared experienced pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, loss of normal life and medical expenses as a result of his delivery. His first eight years on Earth had been difficult ones for him.

The foundation of this medical malpractice case was that the two attending doctors for Mrs. Kara Rutherford should have known the baby would weigh more than 10 pounds at delivery. As it was, the baby’s shoulder got stuck behind his mother’s pubic bone after his head was delivered. This meant his body did not easily follow the head during delivery. This complication caused a stretching injury to the nerves in Jared’s shoulder.

In reading further about this case, it is clear that there were other allegations that came into play, including failure to decide if a vaginal delivery was safe for Mrs. Rutherford, failure to do any appropriate testing and failure to use delivery techniques to reduce the risk of harm to the baby.

Furthermore, the plaintiff alleged the doctors didn’t appropriately dislodge the baby’s shoulder once it was stuck; instead they pulled and twisted the child. In addition the doctors also did not tell the parents the delivery could be hazardous to the child, nor did they offer Mrs. Rutherford the option of having a cesarean section.

In a nutshell, the case was a contentious one, and thousands of hours were spent in court laying a foundation to an eventual award for the Rutherfords of close to $900,000. This award was broken down into $228,084.88 for past medical and health bills; $255,600 for future health expenses and medical bills, $110,000 for loss of future earnings and $300,000 for past and future pain and suffering, disfigurement and disability.

During the period the Rutherfords waited to get their case resolved, they were faced with ongoing medical expenses on behalf of Jared in addition to their usual household expenses. Even with one or both of the parents working, the medical bills would have continued. Had the Rutherfords known about lawsuit funding, they may have had an easier time handling all the necessary everyday expenditures without the crushing worry of how the bills were going to get paid.

This kind of situation does not need to happen. In many cases, help is a phone call away. Do online research on litigation funding. You may qualify for a cash advance against your personal injury case. Lawsuit funding may be used to pay important bills such as car payments, mortgage payments, tuition, food and medical bills. Find a reputable lawsuit funding company that will provide the financial assistance necessary to permit you to wait for a fair and equitable verdict in your personal injury case.

Daren Monroe writes for Litigation Funding Corp. To learn more about lawsuit funding and litigation funding, visit Litigationfundingcorp.com.

Lawsuit Pre-Settlement Loans May Ease Financial Concerns

December 2, 2009

In a country rather famous for being litigious, it should not come as much of a surprise that there is something available to plaintiffs called a lawsuit pre-settlement loan.

In most instances where a lawsuit is going to take a long time to settle, the plaintiff may find themselves in a real bind financially. Whether the suit involves injuries sustained in a car crash, a slip and fall case, from a defective product, an on the job injury, or as the result of medical malpractice, waiting for a resolution may be a painfully long and drawn out affair. In the meantime, how does the plaintiff pay their bills and get on with life as they now know it?

Some people may well have access to the resources that would keep them stable until a verdict is delivered in their case. Not everyone is that fortunate however. For those who have a meritorious lawsuit, the plaintiff may be dealing with a waiting time of months or years. Yes, years and this will definitely put a crimp in your ability to pay bills, as you may not be able to work any longer. Your accident may have turned the whole family structure upside down if you were the sole breadwinner and are now unable to hold a job. How will the bills get paid, and who will pay them?

These are good questions, and questions that nightmares are made of when plaintiffs are waiting for their cases to wind their way through the court system. While they may despair when thinking of how to handle their finances, there is a solution that may suit them to a T; a lawsuit pre-settlement loan.

Here is how a lawsuit pre-settlement loan works. It’s fairly simple. A company buys an interest in a pending meritorious lawsuit by giving cash loans to the plaintiff. This loan, plus fees and interest, is then paid back “if” the plaintiff wins their case. While this sounds simple on first blush, you should know that not every plaintiff that may apply for this type of funding is approved. This is due to the fact that lawsuit settlement loans are regarded as non-recourse funding.

Non-recourse funding mean if you lose your case and the judgment is in favor of the defendant, you are not obligated to pay the loan back to the company that lent it to you. Yes, you read that correctly. If you lose your case, you don’t have to pay the money back. You can see why a lawsuit settlement loan provider would make sure they don’t take frivolous cases.

Keep in mind that if you do win your case and are required to pay back the loan, plus fees and interest, you will be looking at a fairly high fee. This is because the loan provider is taking on a significant risk and their fees would reflect this. The fees do vary and its best you discuss that matter with the company you choose to approach. There are other facts and figures you would need to know before making a decision that lawsuit funding would be the right thing for you.

Daren Monroe writes for Litigation Funding Corp. To learn more about lawsuit funding and litigation funding, visit Litigationfundingcorp.com.

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