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Who Needs Medical Malpractice Reform? Phoenix Insurance Group Gives $25 MILLION Dividend

One thing we often hear from prospective jurors in Phoenix (and throughout Arizona) is that medical malpractice should have caps on damages because high verdicts cause medical costs and insurance for doctors to go up. Study after study proves that this is simply wrong, but the insurance companies have done a great job (read: spent hundreds of millions of dollars) convincing people that it is true. In Arizona, our state constitution prohibits a cap on damages for medical malpractice or wrongful death cases (and for any personal injury case). Since we have no cap on medical malpractice damages, the cost of medical malpractice insurance for doctors must be through the roof, right?

This month, Arizona’s largest medical malpractice insurance provider for doctors announced that it is giving its members $25 million in a dividend. This money is collected from premiums that doctors pay for their insurance, which is then used to set reserves for lawsuits. If verdicts and settlements were so egregiously high that they were harming the system, MICA would not be RETURNING $25 million to its insureds. The fact is that verdicts in Arizona are notoriously LOW when compared to other states. This is not because the cases are worth less; it is because insurance companies have spent decades bombarding Arizonians with misinformation about how lawsuits hurt the community.

For over 35 years, Snyder & Wenner has litigated only the most important medical malpractice and wrongful death cases. We have been able to provide families and victims with money to help them continue on with their lives despite their terrible, life-changing losses. We have also been fortunate to use lawsuits as a mechanism to force hospitals and doctors to change how they run their practices. Too often, hospitals and doctors put profits over safety, and fail to protect the patient. If it were not for medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits, hospitals and doctors would have no check and balance on their conduct. These cases are important, and we are proud to help those in need. So, the next time someone tells you that we need to keep medical malpractice and wrongful death verdicts in Phoenix low, please remind them that Arizona’s largest medical malpractice insurance company has made so much money that it is returning $25 MILLION to its doctors.

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal linked to salmonella outbreak in 31 states

Today, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement that a salmonella outbreak that has been linked to 73 people over 31 states is actually linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. Of the 73 people, 24 have been hospitalized. While not all boxes of Honey Smacks are affected, Kellogg has announced a recall of 15.3-ounc and 23-ounce packages of the cereal that have a “best if used by” date of June 14, 2018 through June 14, 2019. 

Salmonella can be a deadly and devastating illness. Just this year, Snyder & Wenner was involved with a salmonella case against Foster Farms chicken, wherein it was alleged that the company knowingly and/or negligently sold contaminated chicken. The jury agreed, awarding a multi-million dollar verdict in favor of our client. This verdict came after Foster Farms refused to make a single offer to settle the case. 

If you or someone you know became sick after eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal, please call Snyder & Wenner right away so we can work to protect your rights. For over 35 years, Snyder & Wenner has worked tirelessly to protect the safety of members of our local Arizona community, and throughout the entire country. In doing so, we have collected over $150 million for our clients and their families. 

NPR: Medical Malpractice No. 3 Cause of U.S. Deaths

For years we have been telling the public all of the statistics supporting the finding that medical malpractice accounts for one of the leading causes of death in our country. A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, and reported by NPR, now confirms it.

Based on the research, Johns Hopkins now estimates that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. That ranks medical malpractice as the 3rd leading cause of death in our country, behind only heart disease and cancer. The study also noted, however, that the numbers may be even more significant, as the current coding system used by the Center For Disease Control does not account for very important factors that lead to medical malpractice, including communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, and poor judgment. 

The problem is so significant, in fact, that the doctors in charge of the study actually called for changed to be made in death certificates to better reflect fatal lapses in case. In an open letter, they also urge the CDC to immediately add “medical errors” to its annual list reporting the top causes of death.

So, since this is such a significant problem, we must ask ourselves “why is nothing being done to reverse the alarming trend?” Rather than attack the problem head on, insurance companies and hospitals have engaged in a dangerous game of pointing the finger at the victims and the victims’ families who try to hold the doctors and hospitals accountable for their conduct. Tort reform is not the answer; a safer and more responsible system of medicine is.

Common Types of Birth Injuries

In a previous blog, we discussed different tips expecting mothers can take to protect themselves and their babies from birth injuries. However, to more effectively safeguard yourself and your unborn child from harm during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, you need to know which injuries you and your baby could face.

Below, we discuss the most common types of birth injuries your child could sustain, as well as the conditions you are at risk for. Read on to learn which types of injury you and your baby could face so you can reduce your chances for injury.

Protect Yourself against Psychiatric Malpractice


Like all doctors, psychiatrists—medical practitioners who specialize in mental illnesses—are held to certain standards of diagnosis, treatment, and care. If a psychiatrist violates his or her duty to patients, that psychiatrist may be charged with medical malpractice.

Standards of medical skill help protect both psychiatrists and patients, but when those standards are violated, psychiatric malpractice may have occurred. This blog discusses what psychiatric malpractice is and how to protect against it.

Six Common Types of Medical Malpractice


It is widely known that doctors and other medical professionals can make serious errors due to negligence. What is less known is how those errors permanently impact the victims of malpractice. These victims are forced to deal with the emotional and physical consequences of the injuries that doctors cause. Those effects commonly impact the rest of their lives.

Despite the life-changing outcomes, some malpractice victims don’t seek compensation. Many patients simply are not sure if medical malpractice occurred in their specific situation. People mistakenly believe that errors can just happen in a hospital, so no one is responsible for that. Other victims wait too long to consult a lawyer, and the statute of limitations expires. In Arizona, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice is two years from when the person knew or should have known of the injuries to put him/her on notice to investigate what caused the injuries. This deadline can often be confusing, as doctors may tell the patient that his/her outcome is expected and normal, when, in fact, it is not.

Nursing Homes Force Binding Arbitration


Placing your loved one in a nursing home is not an enviable task. Nursing homes are notorious for their poor, substandard care of their patients, and handing your family member over to inattentive caretakers is disconcerting, at best. Nursing homes know their reputation in the public eye; they know that decades of poor care has resulted in mistrust and skepticism. This view has spilled over into the courtrooms, where jurors have routinely held nursing homes accountable for the deaths and/or mistreatment of patients to the tune of millions of dollars for each grieving family member.

How to Detect Nursing Home Abuse


6 Signs That Your Loved One Needs a Better Nursing Home

According to the International Journal of Epidemiology, the elderly population ages 85 and above will increase by nearly 350 percent in America by 2050. This statistic holds dramatic implications for nursing home care throughout the country.

If your loved one already lives in a long-term care facility or nursing home, you may already know about the facility’s challenges. For one thing, many nursing homes are short staffed—a problem that will only grow in coming years. Unfortunately, staffing pressures sometimes lead to neglect and elder abuse in some cases.

Watch for the following warning signs at your local nursing home so you can safeguard your loved one from neglect or abuse.

How to Protect Yourself & Your Baby from Birth Injuries


Plan Ahead to Protect Yourself and Your Baby from Birth Injuries

The months of pregnancy before your child’s birth bring excitement and anticipation. As a new parent, you look forward to welcoming a new baby into your life, and you want to do everything you can to prepare for his or her arrival. You research child care, baby-proof your home, and take extra precaution when you exercise and eat. You do these things to ensure the optimal health of your child.

However, even if you do everything you can to prepare for the birth and maintain your baby’s health, there are always risks involved with the birthing process. And while you hope for the best outcome for a happy, healthy baby, you also need to prepare in case of a medical emergency or negligence on the part of your doctor.

How to Communicate with Your Doctor to Avoid Medical Malpractice


A doctor should act as a trusted confidant and assistant. At times, however, health care professionals make errors that result in permanent injuries or death.

To avoid these mishaps, communicate directly with your doctor. When you and your physician work together to discuss symptoms and treatments, you both help avoid potential medical malpractice. Read the suggestions below to see how you can improve your communication with your healthcare provider before, during, and after your checkup or procedure. For more information, click here.

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