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The Food and Drug Administration has called for stronger warnings to be placed on epilepsy drugs such as Topamax, Lamictal, Lyrica, Neurontin, Tegretol, and Trileptal that use can cause an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or even actions. The FDA reviewed studies conducted since the original warning labels were approved which show that patients on these drugs have an increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts when compared with dummy pills.If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of these or other defective drugs or medical devices, you should contact The Law Offices of Todd N. Hendrickson. Contact Todd N. Hendrickson for a free consultation.

The American Tort Reform Foundation, the business lobby group that annually names Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois, as “judicial hellholes” is at it again. In it’s annual attempt to scare the wits out of voters and small businesses, and to influence pro-business “tort reform” legislation, the ATRF has gone beyond it’s poorly masked attempt to influence jurors in what it views as “plaintiff friendly” venues. Now it has taken to including on the list venues which it believes are less troublesome than so-called hellholes, but worth mentioning.In this group it places St. Louis County, Missouri. Now, as an attorney practicing as a plaintiff’s attorney in Missouri for nearly 20 years, this would be laughable if the intent were not so calculatedly evil.For those who are not familiar with the political structure in Missouri, the City of St. Louis is not part of St. Louis County. The City of St. Louis operates as its own county. And the City of St. Louis has been known, for many years, as a “plaintiff-friendly” venue, justified or not. And it is true that plaintiff’s attorneys always felt they could get a fair shake in front of a City jury. Now, St. Louis County has always been a different animal. St. Louis County has been known as a “plaintiff-hostile” venue, where cases with strong liability and serious damages go to die. Ask any practicing trial lawyer in Missouri, and St. Louis County will be listed as a conservative venue. That’s not to say that plaintiff’s can’t win in St. Louis County, they can. Just as a strong liability case can be won in almost any venue. It is just that the perception has always been that juries in St. Louis County, like those in other conservative venues, generally seem to hold plaintiff’s to a higher legal standard than the law requires. While a civil case is to be decided on a preponderance of the evidence, it always seemed that conservative juries seemed to apply a reasonable-doubt standard.And that brings us back to the American Tort De-Form Foundation. In recent years there have been a few substantial verdicts rendered in St. Louis County where liability was clear and damages were severe. Such awards were clearly warranted and they haven’t been over-turned on appeal. This “trend” leads the ATRF to label St. Louis County as a near-hellhole. Preposterous!The reason for this designation is clear. The ATRF and its allies are seeking to taint jury pools. And taint them they will. In 2005 I tried a case in St. Clair County, one of the “hellholes.” Well, it isn’t a hellhole because of the jurors. The ATRF and it’s ilk so poisoned the jury pool that, in response to a written questionnaire prepared by the trial judge, 95% of the jury pool stated that “frivolous lawsuits” were driving up malpractice insurance rates and driving doctors out of Illinois. Interestingly enough, once the jurors heard a little bit about the medical malpractice case they were to hear, a vast majority agreed that my client’s suit wasn’t frivolous and that they would listen to the evidence before they made up their minds. The case settled on day 3 of trial.There are no “judicial hellholes,” only thinly veiled attempts by the pro-business lobby to do anything possible to improperly influence jurors, voters and legislatures with ridiculous “studies” which prove only that if you pay enough for it, you can get a “study” to say anything you want, even that one of the most conservative venues in Missouri can be labeled as a “hellhole.”

Byetta, a drug used to treat Type II diabetis, is suspected of causing hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis in numerous patients. As a result, the FDA has issued an alert. Byetta is given by injection. If you are taking Byetta, you should immediately discuss this information with your physician. Information for your doctor can be found here.If you suspect that you or a loved one has been injured as a result of using Byetta or any other drug or as a result of medical malpractice, please contact Todd N. Hendrickson.

As a trial lawyer, I’m asked this question all the time: How do you put a dollar figure on a human life? There is no easy answer. Every human life has value and no amount of money can ever replace a life. These contradictory ideas are at the heart of the problems that juries face every day in this country when they are called upon to do just that: place a dollar value on a human life. So, is there any guidance? Actually, there is …The United States places a value on human life all the time. Cold, hard dollar values. The U.S. does this in order to evaluate the costs and benefits of various safety and other programs. The Environmental Protection Agency values a single human life at $7.22 million. The federal Department of Transportation has done the same calculation and has come up with a figure of $5.8 million. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has long held the value of a single human life is $5 million. The U.S. uses these figures like this: If a program would save 3 lives and would cost $10 million, then the cost-benefit analysis would be in favor of spending the money to save those 3 lives.So, if our federal government values a single human life at $5 million dollars or more, then how can various state governments, including Missouri and Illinois, place caps on what a jury can award for a human life, at levels far below the value that our federal government places on a human life? In Missouri, state law caps “non-economic damages” at $350,000 per person. $350,000 is only 7% to less than 5% of the true value. In Illinois, the cap stands at $500,000. These caps are outrageous and should be stricken down and repealed so that a jury can decide, on its own, on the basis of the community’s shared values and beliefs, the value of a human life.

Sport Utility Vehicles(SUVs) are advertised as being safe, well built vehicles which can be used for everyday road driving, as well as off roads and rough terrain. Unfortunately, not all SUVs are as safe as they are advertised to be. Research has shown that due to their larger size and higher center of gravity, SUVs are more prone to rollovers than smaller sized passenger cars.In the U.S., statistics show that more than 10,000 people are killed each year in SUV rollover accidents, and thousands more are left with severe or catastrophic injuries.Personal injuries resulting from an SUV rollover accident include, but are not limited to:Head injury or head traumaSpinal cord injury or back injuryNeck injuryBroken bones & fracturesLoss limbsParalysisDeathIf you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a SUV rollover accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries and damages. It is important to speak with an experienced St. Louis accident attorney who can investigate your case and evaluate if the auto manufacturer can be held liable.At the Law Offices of Todd N. Hendrickson in St. Louis, our attorneys are highly skilled in accident cases and have successfully represented numerous clients in various automobile accidents. We are committed to protecting the rights of our clients and help pursue compensation to help cover for; medical expenses, loss of income, future expenses, pain and suffering, and funeral expense.If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one due to an SUV rollover accident or other serious accident, contact Todd N. Hendrickson to schedule a free consultation and receive appropriate legal advice.

Thousands of people each day fall victim to criminal attacks and suffer severe life changing injuries and loses. The most frustrating part is that many of these attacks are preventable and are the result of poor and inadequate security by property owners.Premises and Security Liability laws state the property owners must be responsible for protecting visitors from harm, and that includes criminal activity. It is their duty to study their surroundings and be aware of any signs of criminal activity. A property owner must provide adequate security such as proper lighting, security patrols, and security hardware on doors and windows.If you were attacked or victimized on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact an experienced negligent security attorney who can take action and investigate your case.St. Louis accident and injury attorney Todd Hendrickson, P.C., has successfully represented numerous clients in complex security negligent claims. He understands how difficult it is to experience such tragedies and will aggressively work to have the responsible party held liable for your injuries and damages.A list of possible negligent security claims include:• Landlord liability• Inadequate parking lot surveillance• Inadequate lighting• Negligent hotel security• Forced entry• Employer Security Liability for negligent hiring• Bank Security Liability and ATM kiosk security• Attacks in elevators and stairwells• Shopping mall security negligence• College campus and dorm room security negligence• Negligent hospital security• Negligent sport stadium securityIf you or someone you know is injured or attacked on someone else’s property, and you suspect inadequate security was part of the problem, contact an experienced attorney who can take immediate action and help you pursue compensation.St. Louis negligent security attorney Todd Hendrickson, P.C. has the skills and the experience to get you the results you need.

Have you been involved in a car accident that happened as a result of the other driver talking on a cell phone while driving? It is currently estimated that 7% of all car accidents in the United States involve cellular phone usage on the road. Today there are more drivers on the road than ever before, and the number of cell phone users continues to increase rapidly.A study done at Harvard showed that over the last five years, the number of cellular phone users has risen from 93 million to 129 million. With so many people driving and using cell phones, the two are bound to combine with disastrous results.Many states are implementing laws that make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving unless a ‘hands-free’ device is used. In St. Louis, we are still waiting for cell phone/driving laws to be passed. In the mean time, cell phone-related car accidents continue to injure and kill people. Todd N. Hendrickson is a St Louis accident attorney and represents those who have been injured in all types of accidents.If you or someone close to you has been injured in St Louis by a negligent driver who was using a cell phone at the time of the crash, you may be eligible to receive a monetary award for your injuries. All drivers are responsible for driving in a safe manner so they do not put themselves and other drivers at risk. When someone fails to operate a vehicle safely, the damage they cause is considered to be an act of negligence. St Louis accident lawyer Todd Hendrickson has a proven track record of bringing negligent parties to justice and holding them financially responsible for the damages and injuries they have caused.Call the St. Louis Law Office of Todd N. Hendrickson at 314.721.8833 to discuss your potential claim. Todd can provide you with a free consultation and advise you of your rights and what steps should be taken to pursue your claim.

You’ve been injured, whether it was in a car accident, work place injury, or due to medical malpractice or as a result of a faulty product. Have you ever thought about how you talk to your doctor about these injuries? No? Well you should …

Doctors write office notes and reports about every office visit they have with you, and every time they see you in the hospital. Doctors are the historians of your medical condition. What they write can affect any legal case you may have. Whatever the doctor documents about your injury or condition is what the insurance company, defense attorney, judge and jury will see. And all too often, if you try to say “that isn’t what I said!” who do you think that insurance company, defense attorney, judge and jury are going to believe?

Doctors are just like everyone else. They want to be successful at what they do. They want their patients to get better. As a result, doctors records tend to be biased in favor of recovery. I’m not saying it is an intentional bias. In most cases, it is not. It is just that their job is to make you better and they want to believe that they are achieving that goal.

So … how does what you say to your doctor affect what they write? Simple: unless you are 100% recovered, never tell a doctor “I feel fine” or “I feel better.” We all know that those statements are usually followed by an “except ….” “Doc, I feel fine, except my left leg is still killing me. I can’t bend it the way I should and the pain wakes me at night.” If your doctor has been treating this condition for awhile, chances are, his records will record: “Patient feels fine” or “patient improved.” In fact, you aren’t. And you’ve just created a hurtle for you and your attorney to overcome.

So, resist the temptation to say “I’m better” or “I’m fine” if you aren’t. Prepare for your visit with your doctor. Think about how your injury or condition has been since you last saw your doctor. Be prepared to tell him, quickly and succinctly, each of your complaints. Tell him or her what triggers any pain. Tell them if it hurst after certain activities or at certain times of the day. Be prepared to give them examples of things that your injuries have kept you from doing, or have made difficult to do, such as housework, your job, recreational activities. Don’t exaggerate. Never exaggerate! Simply list your problem and leave out “I’m fine” out of your vocabulary until there is nothing else on that list of things that are hurting or bothering you. Then, and only then, are you “fine.”

In the most recent 3 years of reported data, more than 94 people have died in ATV accidents in Missouri. //atvsafety.gov Nationally, more than 1200 deaths were reported as a result of ATV accidents.If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of an ATV accident, you should contact The Law Offices of Todd N. Hendrickson. We can investigate the accident and determine if there is an applicable product recall or safety violation. Many people are completely unaware of the Missouri safety laws regarding ATV ridership. These and other factors must be investigated in the event of an ATV accident.Contact Todd N. Hendrickson for a free consultation.

I recently learned of an interesting article in the Medical Liability Monitor, an industry publication on medical malpractice. In the April 2008 issue, Phil Dyer, V.P. of Professional Liability Division of Kibble & Prentice, declares that the volatility in the healthcare professional liability market may finally be over. Mr. Dyer cites 6 reasons–and not one is tort “reform.”

  • Reinsurance Changes: Reinsurers, large companies who buy packages of insurance risk, have reduced their holdings in property insurance following Hurricane Katrina and are purchasing more malpractice risk packages, driving down the cost of reinsuring.
  • Reduced Frequency of Claims: The number of claims per bed for hospitals and the number of claims per doctor has dropped significantly in recent years. No reason is listed, but it would appear to be the result of better managing risk, as described below.
  • Reaping Rewards of Previous Years: This is my favorite! In recent years the insurers have hike premiums, dropped physicians and generally caused havoc. Now, as a result of a reduced frequency of claims, they are “reaping the rewards.” In other words, they are now seeing the profits from those years of sky high premiums that they were claiming they needed to keep from going broke! As a result of years of gouging hospitals and doctors, insurers are reaping record profits!
  • Companies Have Money to Spare: Obviously, the insurance companies don’t want their customers and the public to know this, but it is there in black and white and it is a direct quote: “With clean books of business, robust premiums and a favorable claims environment, there is a great deal of room for companies to be aggressive and lower rates.” Here we go again … the same cycle we’ve seen for years. The insurance companies cry wolf, raise rates and drop coverage claiming that the lawyers are driving doctors out of business, then the companies suddenly have “money to spare,” begin cutting rates, insuring doctors who shouldn’t be practicing and then the cycle will repeat, ad nauseum.
  • Healthcare Delivery System is Better at Preventing Claims: This is the first thing that is actually good news for patients. In light of the skyrocketing premiums over the past few years, hospitals and doctors have worked to reduce mistakes, and they’ve been successful to some extent in doing this. Every attorney welcomes this.
  • The Trial Bar Cannot Afford to Bring Cases that Have Little or No Settlement Value: This is the industry’s only attempt to indirectly link their improved fiscal position with tort reform, and it is simply a fantasy. Those of us who specialize in Medical Malpractice have never taken marginal cases. We have never been able to spend money to investigate claims without merit. What does happen, as Mr. Dyer recognizes, is that attorneys who don’t concentrate in medical negligence cases can, and often do, prosecute cases where liability is not clear. They then often lose those cases and the health care industry rolls out the term “frivolous” to describe the suit. A loss does not mean frivolous. It just means that the attorney wasn’t able to prove the case.
  • What does this mean to patients? Probably not much. Hopefully, doctors and hospitals will continue to implement practice modifications that will “prevent claims.” Hopefully, the insurers will stay off the roller coaster of raising and lowering premiums so that doctors and hospitals can better predict these costs, but that probably won’t happen. Hopefully, the next time reinsurance costs go up because the reinsurers have found a better place to park their money, the insures won’t scream “tort reform” and try to take away the rights of the very patients who are injured by doctor’s and hospital’s negligence, but that probably won’t happen either. Maybe, just maybe, someone will pull this article from Medical Liability Monitor and waive it in the face of the insurance industry and cut off the argument. Maybe … but don’t hold your breath.In the mean time, trial attorneys will keep protecting the victims of medical negligence and dangerous products.