German Exchange Student obtains $5,000,000.00 settlement in complicated medical malpractice case.

Medical malpractice, German exchange student, litigation, international law firm

German exchange student achieves $5,000,000.00 settlement.

By Michael R. Jackson, Shareholder

The Jackson Law Firm achieved a $5,000,000.00 settlement on behalf of a German exchange student in Minnesota after a physician and hospital failed to properly diagnose a devastating injury to his leg. The student, Lukas (his name has been changed in order to comply with the case’s Confidential Settlement Agreement), had been sent to the United States at the tender age of 16 to study for a year in Minnesota.  Shortly before the end of his exchange program, Lukas was taken to the emergency department of a local hospital after sustaining a knee injury in a water-skiing accident.  In the emergency department he was seen by hospital nurses and an emergency physician and examined.  Lukas informed the nursing staff that he had been injured water-skiing and that he had felt his knee “pop out, then in”.  Lukas was noted to have pain of “10” on a scale of “1-10.”  He was documented as having “tingling” in his foot by the physician, even though the nurses had initially charted the foot as being “numb.” The physician recorded that he was able to put Lukas’ leg through a normal range of motion – meaning that his movement was not limited by the injury.  While this German exchange student did not know the English word for dislocation, he explained to the physician, too, that he had felt his knee “pop out” and added that it had “popped in again.” No translator was provided for Lukas during his stay in the emergency department.

Basically, through the impact with the water, Lukas had dislocated his knee, but before arriving at the hospital the dislocation had spontaneously reduced or corrected itself. The emergency physician told Lukas that he did not believe that the knee had dislocated, but did order x-rays.  After diagnosing an avulsion fracture, which is a small fracture that is most often treated non-surgically, Lukas was sent home with his host parents for follow-up during the week with an orthopedist.  However, unbeknownst to Lukas, the avulsion fracture was the least of his medical problems.  As it turns out, Lukas had also experienced 1) a subtotal tibial avulsion tear of the anterior cruciate ligament; 2) a posterior cruciate ligament tear; and 3) a left medial meniscus tear (posterior horn). This meant that his knee was incredibly unstable and could not possibly have been put through normal range of motion exercises in the emergency department. This fact was but one issue that called the examination in the emergency department into question.  However, these additional injuries also set the stage for Lukas to develop a far more significant medical emergency.

Most of Lukas’ injuries are not visible on simple x-rays. The crux of this case, therefore, turned on the fact that the mechanism of the injury, i.e., the high-velocity impact, and the patient’s complaints should have alerted this physician that there might be a more significant danger for this patient.  In fact, this type of injury is considered to be a vascular emergency because of the risk of arterial compromise, i.e., damage.  In this case, the patient’s history and mechanism of injury should have been enough to raise the concern for a dislocation in a prudent medical doctor.  That concern then leads the prudent physician to think popliteal neurovascular injury.  If so, additional testing is warranted or, at minimum, the patient should be been kept overnight for observation.  Instead, Lukas was discharged.

Within the course of that evening, Lukas’ pain continued. The host parents called the hospital’s nurse-advice line, but were told it would get worse before it became better.  However, the additional injuries caused progressive ischemia (insufficient blood flow) to lead to the development of compartment syndrome in Lukas’ lower leg.  The host parents chose to take Lukas to a different hospital after his problems persisted.  The doctors who examined Lukas there immediately recognized the significance of his injuries.  Lukas remained hospitalized for several weeks.  As a result of the physician’s failure to timely intervene in this process, the inadequate circulation to the leg was woefully insufficient to maintain tissue viability and by the time the nature of Lukas’ injuries were truly appreciated by the physicians at the second hospital, the damage was done and the physicians urged an amputation of Lukas’ leg.  Ultimately, at the insistence of Lukas’ mother, Lukas was sent by air ambulance back to Germany, where he was treated for an extended period of time by German doctors who were able to save his leg.  However, he underwent 14 surgeries to attempt to correct the severe damage to his leg.  Despite these efforts, the damaged muscle tissue in his leg was beyond repair and left him with what doctors there referred to as a “stork leg.”

Lukas was an avid tennis player. Before the accident, he played soccer and also jogged, skied, engaged in in-line skating, and rode his bicycle.  All of these activities became difficult to impossible for Lukas due to his injuries.  Obviously, so much of Lukas’ life has been impacted on a daily basis.

The Jackson Law Firm hired ten experts to help properly prepare this case for trial, including an emergency room physician, a pediatric emergency room physician, an orthopedic surgeon, a German orthopedic surgeon to address the care in Germany, a vascular surgeon, a physiatrist, a psychologist, a life care planner, a German business and occupational expert, and an economist. Lukas was flown to the United States so that most of the hired experts could evaluate him in person.  The reports from these experts were comprehensive and painted a picture for the defense that trial presented a significant risk to them.  While Minnesota allows health care providers to opt out of mediation, ultimately it was the defendants – when faced with the overwhelming evidence that would be put before a jury – who requested the mediation.  Ultimately, The Jackson Law Firm achieved a $5,000,000.00 settlement for this German exchange student.

When you hire a law firm to represent you, consider two important factors: 1) does this law firm have the experience to handle my case and 2) will they be able to properly prepare my case for trial, so that the defendant[s] fully understand the risk of actually going to trial. These two factors will go a long way toward ensuring your success in your case.  While other firms may claim to have such skills and ability, take the time to verify the truth of those claims.  Lukas’ family did take the time to fully vet this law firm, and now have the peace of mind of knowing that they achieved a significant settlement for Lukas.  In fact, the size of the settlement exceeded norms within the Minnesota medical malpractice community.  The nature and size of the settlement has allowed Lukas to pursue a new career path in the field of engineering.  A bright young man, Lukas – through the resolution of this difficult chapter in his life – has been able to make peace with his life.  In fact, I and two other attorneys within the firm have visited Lukas and his family several times in Germany since the resolution of the case, and still hear from them on a regular basis.  It is a reflection of how we see our clients –an extended family for whom we diligently strive for success.

The nature of this case underscores another point which lies at the core of this law firm. We routinely represent German clients in lawsuits throughout the United States.  A generic American attorney / law firm simply cannot understand a German client’s needs, based upon language and cultural differences, on the same level that The Jackson Law Firm is able to offer.  Our ability to handle these nuances often is the key to a successful outcome.   Similarly, in those firms that use a German attorney inexperienced in such matters to bridge the gap for their U.S. counterparts, mistakes are bound to creep into the process.  Insist on someone not only capable of speaking the language but also experienced in your type of case – we look forward to serving your needs.

We encourage you to explore our website to learn more about The Jackson Law Firm, its attorneys, and the firm’s practice areas.  Our international experience allows us to assist clients in international matters, and the firm looks forward to the opportunity to put that experience to work for you.  Feel free to contact us via email to discuss your matter.

Please remember that we do not represent you and cannot take any action on your behalf unless and until we enter into a formal written Legal Representation Agreement. If we do not respond to your inquiry or are unable to take your case, please contact another law firm immediately to have your case assessed.

© The Jackson Law Firm 2016

German Exchange Student obtains $5,000,000.00 settlement in complicated medical malpractice case.

German Exchange Student

German Exchange Student suffers serious injuries leading to $5,000,000.00 settlement.

Michael R. Jackson, Shareholder

The Jackson Law Firm achieved a $5,000,000.00 settlement on behalf of a German exchange student in Minnesota after a physician and hospital failed to properly diagnose a devastating injury to his leg.  The student, Lukas (his name has been changed in order to comply with the case’s Confidential Settlement Agreement), had been sent to the United States at the tender age of 16 to study for a year in Minnesota.  Shortly before the end of his exchange program, Lukas was taken to the emergency department of a local hospital after sustaining a knee injury in a water-skiing accident.  In the emergency department he was seen by hospital nurses and an emergency physician and examined.  Lukas informed the nursing staff that he had been injured water-skiing and that he had felt his knee “pop out, then in”.  Lukas was noted to have pain of “10” on a scale of “1-10.”  He was documented as having “tingling” in his foot by the physician, even though the nurses had initially charted the foot as being “numb.” The physician recorded that he was able to put Lukas’ leg through a normal range of motion – meaning that his movement was not limited by the injury.  While this German exchange student did not know the English word for dislocation, he explained to the physician, too, that he had felt his knee “pop out” and added that it had “popped in again.” No translator was provided for Lukas during his stay in the emergency department.

Basically, through the impact with the water, Lukas had dislocated his knee, but before arriving at the hospital the dislocation had spontaneously reduced or corrected itself.  The emergency physician told Lukas that he did not believe that the knee had dislocated, but did order x-rays.  After diagnosing an avulsion fracture, which is a small fracture that is most often treated non-surgically, Lukas was sent home with his host parents for follow-up during the week with an orthopedist.  However, unbeknownst to Lukas, the avulsion fracture was the least of his medical problems.  As it turns out, Lukas had also experienced 1) a subtotal tibial avulsion tear of the anterior cruciate ligament; 2) a posterior cruciate ligament tear; and 3) a left medial meniscus tear (posterior horn).  This meant that his knee was incredibly unstable and could not possibly have been put through normal range of motion exercises in the emergency department. This fact was but one issue that called the examination in the emergency department into question.  However, these additional injuries also set the stage for Lukas to develop a far more significant medical emergency.

Most of Lukas’ injuries were not visible on simple x-rays.  The crux of this case, therefore, turned on the fact that the mechanism of the injury, i.e., the high-velocity impact, and the patient’s complaints should have alerted this physician that there might be a more significant danger for this patient.  In fact, this type of injury is considered to be a vascular emergency because of the risk of arterial compromise, i.e., damage.  In this case, the patient’s history and mechanism of injury should have been enough to raise the concern for a dislocation in a prudent medical doctor.  That concern then leads the prudent physician to think popliteal neurovascular injury.  If so, additional testing is warranted or, at minimum, the patient should be been kept overnight for observation.  Instead, Lukas was discharged.

Within the course of that evening, Lukas’ pain continued.  The host parents called the hospital’s nurse-advice line, but were told it would get worse before it became better.  However, the additional injuries caused progressive ischemia (insufficient blood flow) to lead to the development of compartment syndrome in Lukas’ lower leg.  The host parents chose to take Lukas to a different hospital after his problems persisted.  The doctors who examined Lukas there immediately recognized the significance of his injuries.  Lukas remained hospitalized for several weeks.  As a result of the initial physician’s failure to timely intervene in this process, the inadequate circulation to the leg was woefully insufficient to maintain tissue viability and by the time the nature of Lukas’ injuries were truly appreciated by the physicians at the second hospital, the damage was done and the physicians urged an amputation of Lukas’ leg.  Ultimately, at the insistence of Lukas’ mother, Lukas was sent by air ambulance back to Germany, where he was treated for an extended period of time by German doctors who were able to save his leg.  However, he underwent 14 surgeries to attempt to correct the severe damage to his leg.  Despite these efforts, the damaged muscle tissue in his leg was beyond repair and left him with what doctors there referred to as a “stork leg.”

Lukas was an avid tennis player.  Before the accident, this German exchange student played soccer and also jogged, skied, engaged in in-line skating, and rode his bicycle.  All of these activities became difficult to impossible for Lukas due to his injuries.  Obviously, so much of Lukas’ life has been impacted on a daily basis.

The Jackson Law Firm hired ten experts to help properly prepare this case for trial, including an emergency room physician, a pediatric emergency room physician, an orthopedic surgeon, a German orthopedic surgeon to address the care in Germany, a vascular surgeon, a physiatrist, a psychologist, a life care planner, a German business and occupational expert, and an economist.  Lukas was flown to the United States so that most of the hired experts could evaluate him in person.  The reports from these experts were comprehensive and painted a picture for the defense that trial presented a significant risk to them.  While Minnesota allows health care providers to opt out of mediation, ultimately it was the defendants – when faced with the overwhelming evidence that would be put before a jury – who requested the mediation.  Ultimately, The Jackson Law Firm achieved a $5,000,000.00 settlement for this German exchange student.

When you hire a law firm to represent you, consider two important factors: 1) does this law firm have the experience to handle my case and 2) will they be able to properly prepare my case for trial, so that the defendant[s] fully understand the risk of actually going to trial.  These two factors will go a long way toward ensuring your success in your case.  While other firms may claim to have such skills and ability, take the time to verify the truth of those claims.  Lukas’ family did take the time to fully vet this law firm, and now have the peace of mind of knowing that they achieved a significant settlement for Lukas.  In fact, the size of the settlement exceeded norms within the Minnesota medical malpractice community.  I and two other attorneys within the firm have visited Lukas and his family several times in Germany since the resolution of the case.  It is a reflection of how we see our clients –an extended family for whom we diligently strive for success.

The nature of this case underscores another point which lies at the core of this law firm.  We routinely represent German clients in lawsuits throughout the United States.  A generic American attorney / law firm simply cannot understand a German client’s needs, based upon language and cultural differences, on the same level that The Jackson Law Firm is able to offer.  Our ability to handle these nuances often is the key to a successful outcome. Similarly, in those firms that use a German attorney inexperienced in such matters to bridge the gap for their U.S. counterparts, mistakes are bound to creep into the process.  Insist on someone not only capable of speaking the language but also experienced in your type of case – we look forward to serving your needs.

We encourage you to explore our website to learn more about The Jackson Law Firm, its attorneys, and the firm’s practice areas.  Our international experience allows us to assist clients in international matters, and the firm looks forward to the opportunity to put that experience to work for you.  Feel free to contact us via email to discuss your matter.

Please remember that we do not represent you and cannot take any action on your behalf unless and until we enter into a formal written Legal Representation Agreement. If we do not respond to your inquiry or are unable to take your case, please contact another law firm immediately to have your case assessed.

© The Jackson Law Firm 2015

Personal Injury Cases on an International Scale

Personal Injury Cases, International Personal Injury LitigationBy – Michael R. Jackson, Shareholder

The United States legal system is confusing even to Americans.  When foreign visitors travel to this country on business, as tourists, or for other personal matters, the last thing that they expect is that they will suffer some form of accident or personal injury that will significantly impact their trip.  Such travelers often come to us with stories of the injuries that they sustained in this country with no real understanding as to how they can obtain compensation for this personal injury case.  These individuals, understandably, simply do not understand what it means to pursue personal injury cases in the United States.  In many instances they have tried to speak with American attorneys, who because of the language or cultural barrier simply were not able to meet and/or address their needs.  This firm has the greatest experience with European Union based travelers based upon our connection to Germany, but our overall experience handling international litigation matters on behalf of a variety of international clients has allowed us to be in tune with their immediate and long-term needs.  If you fall into this category, the attorneys of Jackson Law International look forward to putting their experience to work on your case.

Some recurring questions we can answer in advance:

1)    Do I have to pay you to sue someone for my personal injury?

Our firm will handle your personal injury case on a contingency fee basis – meaning that you pay no fee until we are able to achieve a monetary result for you.

2)    What kind of records do you need / do I have to get those records together?

This firm will efficiently and professionally gather information and documentation and coordinate all aspects of the litigation process.  If you have already obtained some records – for example, a police report, accident report, medical report, bills, etc., we would ask that you provide us with copies once we accept your case.

3)    What other information might be helpful in my personal injury case?

Recording information at the time of an accident can be very helpful later as often memories begin to fade.  For example, noting the time of day of the incident and the date might allow one later to establish the weather and lighting conditions at the time of the accident.  Getting the names and contact information for witnesses may allow a third party perspective from someone who has nothing to gain by their testimony that could prove invaluable.  Making a note of statements made by others involved in the incident could establish a variety of issues, including ownership, state of mind, etc., and might be admissible against that party in court.  Provide your attorney with everything, and let your attorney decide whether it is important or not to your case.

4)    Why not hire another personal injury law firm?

We have found that most American attorneys have no familiarity with the European or other international health care systems, and are completely unequipped to obtain critical documentation to support a claim for damages in the United States.  In cases, for example, involving German-speaking witnesses and where we must obtain factual information or request their cooperation in obtaining their testimony, such individuals often tend to be suspicious when dealing with English speaking attorneys and their staff.  Conversely, we have experienced much success in obtaining the cooperation of individuals in the European Union who have critical information and documentation needed to support a claim for damages in the United States.  Our familiarity with the relevant European systems has provided a level of comfort not only for our clients but those third parties entirely unfamiliar with the American litigation process.

5)    If my injuries happened in another part of the United States, can you help me?

When it comes to litigating matters within the United States, the attorneys of Jackson Law International are licensed in multiple jurisdictions such as California, Colorado, Florida; New York; Texas; and Washington, D.C.  Moreover, we have served as lead counsel in cases throughout the United States through pro hac vice admission by the applicable state or federal court.  In addition, we have a vast network of lawyers around the country who assist us in such matters – our local counsel – to provide you with the most comprehensive form of representation throughout the United States.

You should be mindful of the law firm that seeks for you to retain them, only for that firm to then simply turn the matter over to a different law firm.  That should be a clear sign to  you that the initial law firm does not have the experience and/or resources to help you in your legal matter.  Be sure to ask pointed questions when you interview a law firm, ensuring that the attorney with whom you are speaking is actually going to handle your case, having the attorney who is to handle the case tell you about his / her own professional experience in such matters, and having the attorney tell you about his / her accomplishments with respect to trial results and settlements.

Jackson Law International will gladly share with you its track record in representing clients across the United States .  Our knowledge of norms allows us to provide a level of service to our clients that is, in most instances, simply too difficult for the typical American law firm to duplicate.

Feel free to contact us to further discuss the details of your case.  We encourage you to explore our website  – www.jacksonlawinternational.com – to learn more about Jackson Law International, our attorneys and practice areas.  Jackson Law International takes pride in its international experience, and looks forward to the opportunity to put that experience to work for you.

Please remember that we do not represent you and cannot take any action on your behalf unless and until we enter into a formal written Legal Representation Agreement. If we do not respond to your inquiry or are unable to take your case, please contact another law firm immediately to have your case assessed.

© Jackson Law International 2011