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Archive for category: Vermont Law

Damage Caps and Vermont Personal Injury Law

Categories: Vermont LawAuthor:

This article in the New York Times explains how laws that limit personal injury damages have protected manufacturers of defective products. The parents of an 18 year old who was killed in a car crash when the G.M. car’s airbags did not open were shocked to learn that Wisconsin law limited their recovery for their daughter’s wrongful death to $350,000. Two teenagers were killed in the crash and neither family could find a lawyer who would take the case against G.M. because the costs alone would have exceeded the total recovery allowed by Wisconsin law.

The article explains how “damages caps” and other laws that limit tort recoveries have had Read more →

10 Tips to improve your negotiation skills

Categories: Safe Practices, Vermont LawAuthor:

At Shoup Evers  & Green, we are prepared to try our cases before a judge or jury; but the vast majority of our cases end with a negotiated settlement. We are committed to negotiating the best settlement for our clients. John Schraven has extensive experience negotiating for over 25 years. John also applies his skills in his day to day life. While we all want our negotiations, whether for a legal claim or a car purchase, to be successful, few of us have the skills and experience to achieve that. We hope you will find John’s pointers helpful in your next negotiation.

1. Prepare.

Do not go in unprepared with the expectation Read more →

Michael Green Wins Lung Disease Workers’ Compensation Case

Categories: Vermont Law, Workers' Compensation Hearing DecisionAuthor:

On February 19, 2010, the Commissioner of Labor decided that our client, a long term employee of General Electric in Rutland, was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because her work at GE caused her to develop Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD). OKG partner Michael Green tried the case at the Department of Labor. GE hired two doctors to testify in its favor. Green relied on the testimony of a recognized expert in Beryllium Disease from Yale University School of Medicine. In this case, our client had been misdiagnosed with sarcoidosis, which is often confused wtith CBD. It is possible that other past or current GE employees have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis, but actually have CBD.

Drug Company Advertising

Categories: Vermont Law, Workers' Compensation Hearing DecisionAuthor:

We all see them every day, drug company ads for prescription drugs that are aimed at us as consumers.

For years, drug company advertising for prescription drugs was aimed directed at doctors, trying to get doctors to prescribe particular drugs to consumers. In the recent time, however, the drug companies have decided that going directly to the consumer is the way to go, with the idea that consumers then will ask their physicians for the particular drugs.

Is drug company advertising something that is safe to rely on? A recent episode suggests that caution is important.

Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a huge drug company. One of its products is YAZ, which, in the words of the Food & Drug Administration is “indicated for the prevention of pregnancy in women who elect to use an oral conceptive.” In other words, it is a birth control pill.

YAZ also is indicated for the treatment of symptoms of a condition called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), as well as for the treatment of acne in women at least 14 years old.

The Food & Drug Administration requires drug companies to disclose risks and other information about drugs. Bayer advertised YAZ as “Prevents Pregnancy, May Help Moderate Acne and PMDD.” Bayer did this through the most modern means, as sponsored links on the web. However, in doing so, it did not communicate any risk information about YAZ. The FDA was very concerned about this because YAZ has what is known as a boxed warning, and this information was not included.

The FDA concluded that Bayer provided an incomplete and misleading statement about YAZ when it suggested that YAZ was useful in a broader range of conditions for patients than had been demonstrated by supporting evidence.

Bayer settled claims brought by the Food & Drug Administration and 26 States that included requiring Bayer to conduct a national $20,000,000 corrective ad campaign for misleading consumers about the use of YAZ. In addition, Bayer agreed to submit future television ads promoting YAZ to federal regulators.

Why is all of this important? Because this reminds us that when we see drug ads we should be very skeptical of the claims and at least go back to the company’s website to get the full information about the drug before talking to our physician about it.

Lead Paint Poisoning in Vermont

Categories: Health and Safety, Vermont Law, Workers' Compensation Hearing DecisionAuthor:

Lead paint poisoning poses a major health threat to Vermont children. Many children are injured each year by ingesting lead dust or lead in paint chips. Lead that is absorbed in the blood and transferred through the body can seriously poison a young child whose brain and nervous system are still developing. Even a small chip of old lead paint, or inhaling lead in dust, can poison a child. It is well-documented, and medically accepted, that lead poisoning can cause a child to suffer permanent brain damage, loss of IQ, learning problems, developmental and behavioral disabilities, hyperactivity and other injuries.

Most Vermont children get tested for lead by their pediatricians. If the child tests positive, with a lead level higher than is allowed by Vermont law, the Vermont Department of Health takes action to protect the child’s health, and to make the property safe.

Vermont property owners and landlords are legally required to adequately maintain their properties so that children are not lead poisoned. In fact, Vermont has one of the strongest laws in the country protecting children in rental units from the hazards of lead paint poisoning. Vermont law requires owners of rental units (especially those built before 1978) to take reasonable steps to prevent children from being exposed to lead paint. Property owners who fail to meet their responsibilities can be sued by the parents or guardians of young children who have been severely lead poisoned. Those children can recover money damages from the landlords for all injuries they prove they suffered because of the lead poisoning.

Vermont Hunting Safety

Categories: Health and Safety, Vermont Law, Workers' Compensation Hearing DecisionAuthor:

Hunting is a cherished and time-honored tradition in Vermont. Generations of hunters have taken to the woods and fields in search of large game and small. In order to obtain a hunting license, Vermonters must take and pass a rigorous hunter safety course.

Most Vermont hunters are extremely safe, and take their responsibilities seriously. Despite this, and unfortunately, every year several hunters are injured, or even killed, in hunting accidents. Most of these accidents occur when a hunter fails to make certain that they know what they are shooting at, or fails to make sure what lies beyond their target.

If someone is injured or killed by a hunter, not only can the hunter be criminally prosecuted by the State of Vermont; the injured victim or their family can bring a civil claim against the hunter who shot them, seeking money damages. These claims are often covered by the at-fault hunter’s homeowner’s insurance policy.

The bottom line is that it pays to be safe when enjoying one of Vermont’s favorite past-times.

Seat Belt Safety in Vermont

Categories: Health and Safety, Safe Practices, Vermont Law, Workers' Compensation Hearing DecisionAuthor:

Seat belt usage in Vermont, according to the most recent numbers, runs at 87%. This is about a twenty point improvement over the last seven years or so. So what would happen if Vermonters were to increase their seat belt usage to 90%? The Vermont Department of Public Safety believes that it would save at least one life every year. Backing this up is another number: as of 2006, the latest data available, over 50% of fatal crashes in Vermont involved unrestrained drivers or passengers.

What does all this mean. Yes, air bags are great, but they do not replace seat belts. The combination of seat belts and air bags is the best combination to stay alive in a crash.

While the incentive to stay alive should be enough cause for most people to use their seat belts, there is another, reason: Vermont law requires it. Everyone in a motor vehicle must wear a seat belt or sit in a car seat or a booster seat.

Children under one year old and those weighing less than 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing car seat. Children over one year old and weighing more than 20 pounds should ride in a federally approved seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old. Once a child reaches the age of eight, they should ride in a properly fitted seat belt.

As it relates to children, there is an important fact to remember. A very high percentage of children’s seat are not properly fitted. However, Vermont law enforcement agencies routinely hold clinics where, at no charge, they will check out child car seat installations and help owners correctly fit their car seat for the car.  As well, this Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Locator can help you find  an inspection stations near you.

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