Confidential Settlement for Premises Liability Accident
Confidential Settlement for Motorcycle Wreck
$705,000 Verdict in Commission Dispute Case
Confidential Settlement in Golf Cart Injury
$1.9 Million Recovered in Pay Dispute
Confidential Settlement For Atlanta Chiropractic Malpractice
Confidential Settlement in Commission Pay Dispute
Confidential Settlement In Dental Malpractice Case
$3.25 Million For Alleged Fraud in Sale of Business
$5.5 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict
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I recently took a call from a potential client who suffered what appears to be a lingual nerve injury after she received a dental implant in the lower jaw. While this is unusual, the fact that she received a nerve injury after the placement of a dental implant in the lower jaw is not as uncommon as one might believe. A recent study in the U.K. revealed that about 1% of dental implant procedures performed each year result in nerve injuries.

The number of dental implants installed in the U.S. and around the world is increasing at a rapid rate. Implants can replace lost teeth and are preferred over bridges and other dental devices because implants are permanently screwed into the jawbone and more readily mimic real teeth than a bridge or other device can. This allows the implant to promote a strong bone structure around it and the patient is much less likely to suffer from bone resorption (or bone loss around the area of the missing tooth) after the loss of a tooth when a dental implant is installed rather than a bridge.

However, with this added benefit comes added risk. If the dentist installing the implant does not comply with the standard of care when installing the implant post, dental nerve injury can result. If someone suffers a dental nerve injury from a dental implant, they often suffer from numbness and pain in the jaw, lips, mouth, gums, teeth and chin areas. Although it is less common, someone who suffers a dental implant nerve injury can also suffer from pain that radiates up from the lower jaw and up into the ear and head. While this type of injury is less common, it is almost always a much more serious and debilitating nerve injury and much more difficult to treat due to the transitory (moving) nature of the pain and symptoms. In addition, if the cause of this painful condition is not addressed quickly, the pain can be permanent and result in a significant negative impact in the quality of life. Many of these injured dental implant clients wind up with constant pain and discomfort for the rest of their life.

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According to a recent article in NPR news, a veteran has sued the VA hospital for malpractice related to the VA leaving a surgical scalpel in his stomach. While medical malpractice is not uncommon, leaving a surgical tool (in this case a four-inch scalpel used to cut tissue inside the body) is not common due to the hospital protocols and procedures that are now in place in almost all medical care facilities. However, in my opinion, the level of care at the VA hospitals is suspect, at best, and an error like this coming out of a VA institution does not surprise me.

While it is always difficult to get accurate numbers, it is estimated that there are almost 1,500 cases of foreign materials left in the body following surgical procedures in the U.S. Most of these cases, however, involve sponges, gloves or other devices (or more often pieces of materials) made out of pliable material. While a mishap like that is bad enough, leaving a scalpel in someone’s stomach after a surgery and then continuing to leave it in after they complain of stomach pain over the next 4 years is such and egregious act of malpractice, that, in my opinion as an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer, it rises to the level of gross negligence.

Georgia courts define “gross negligence” as being “equivalent to the failure to exercise even a slight degree of care and the lack of the diligence that even careless men are accustomed to exercise. Said another way, the definition  for gross negligence provided by Georgia courts, and what a plaintiff in an Emergency Room medical malpractice case must prove in order to win a ER medical malpractice case in Georgia, a plaintiff must show by “clear and convincing evidence” that a physician failed to provide even a “slight degree” of medical care or that the physician’s medical care was less than “careless negligence.” These are high standards to prove (and not needed to prevail against the VA in a non-Emergency Room case), but something that is certainly capable of being proven with facts such as a surgical scalpel being left behind after surgery and not being found even while the patient complains of stomach pain after the surgery. Absolutely horrendous care and something that our veterans should not be subject to, for any reason.

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When does Georgia law require you to signal when making a turn or changing lanes? Simple question, no simple answer. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-123 provides as follows:

(a) No person shall turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in proper position upon the roadway as required in Georgia Code Section 40-6-120 or turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or change lanes or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety. No person shall so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate and timely signal in the manner provided in this Code section.

(b) A signal of intention to turn right or left or change lanes when required shall be given continuously for a time sufficient to alert the driver of a vehicle proceeding from the rear in the same direction or a driver of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.

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In a never-ending series of examples of just how little the VA cares about the veterans that it provide care to, a USA TODAY investigation has engaged in illegal hiring practices that has resulted in VA hospitals being staffed by doctors who have committed malpractice. For instance, neurosurgeon Dr. John Henry Schneider has been accused of medical malpractice more than a dozen times in two different states, yet the VA found him fit to work in the VA hospital and provide surgical care to our veterans. This, even after the state of Wyoming revoked his license to practice medicine after a surgical patient that he treated died.

According to numerous reports, Dr. Schneider  a number of procedures at the VA including brain surgery as well as lumbar surgeries to treat an infection, apparently caused by a previous Schneider surgery. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, “Schneider’s hiring is not an isolated case. A VA hospital in Oklahoma knowingly hired a psychiatrist who had been sanctioned for sexual misconduct and went on to sleep with a VA patient, according to internal (presumably VA) documents. Additionally, a Louisiana VA clinic hired a psychologist with felony convictions.” This is simply hard to comprehend. How can the VA be putting in place these types of medical professionals operate on and treat our veterans? It is hard to comprehend, yet nothing regarding the VA ceases to amaze me. Clearly, the VA should not be allowed to continue as an organization because is has proven, time and again, that it cannot provide quality and timely care to the veterans that it is charged with servicing. It seems to me, that allowing veterans to obtain this care in the private sector would serve the veterans better, and probably be less expensive to the government in the long run. As a U.S. Army veteran, I have been treated by the VA and can state first hand that the level of care that they provide is sub-standard and is disgraceful. As far as my experience, which admittedly was a long time ago, not only was the level of care not good, but the way that the almost all of the VA staff treated me and the other patients was not good. It seemed to me as if they simply did not care about the patients, and the mentality of the staff was one of “we are doing you a favor and you should be glad that we are even seeing you.” Yes, I know that this is a subjective opinion on my part, but I do believe it to be true and I do believe it accurately reflects that lack of caring that most (not all) of the staff at the VA exhibit toward patients.

For more than 20 years, Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been injured or died as a result of the negligence of others in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area, including Alpharetta, Austell, Brookhaven, Chamblee, College Park, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. He is a former U.S. Army military policeman who is active in helping today’s veterans. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation or if you would just like to consult about your potential case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.

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The placement of dental implants is a surgical procedure that comes with many potential complications. Dental implants are designed to be a permanent replacement for teeth and as such are anchored into the jaw. However, with an increased rate of the placement of dental implants comes more injuries and complications from these procedures.  The following are common bad outcomes from dental implants, and in many cases, are the direct result of dental malpractice committed by the dentist who installed the dental implant:

  1. Facial nerve damage from the implant being placed into the nerve under the tooth. Common signs and symptoms include numbness, loss of sensation, and pain in the jaw, lips, chin and tongue. It is common to have pain and numbness at the same time or alternating pain and numbness.
  2. failure of the implant to anchor into the jaw, this is known as failed osseointegration. The most common sign of this is that the implant is very loose or falls out.
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I have been practicing law since 1994. Over the years I have had, what I consider, some great trial victories in areas such as medical malpractice, civil litigation and personal injury. But, there is one area of law that I have gravitated to over the years and which has become somewhat of a specialty for me: dental malpractice. While I could not fully explain in this article all of the reasons why I have gravitated to specializing in dental malpractice, I can say that I am drawn to this area of law because it allows me to help clients who have been seriously hurt seemingly out of the blue. In other words, many of my clients went to the dentist of have a simple dental procedure performed (such as getting a dental implant or root canal) and within days they have suffered a lief-changing injury. This is very unsettling and I understand what these clients are going through. Consequently, I get a deep sense of satisfaction in being able to walk them through the legal and dental process, and ultimately I do everything I can to help them recover from the dental injury and move on with their life.

I consider myself to by very good at identifying dental negligence and being able to quickly and accurately identify which dental injuries are caused by malpractice and which cases have merit. This seemingly simple step goes a long way in helping those injured in the dental chair have a clearer understanding of how and why they were hurt and what their prospects of being adequately compensated for their dental injuries are.

While my dental malpractice clients vary in every respect (i.e, age, gender, income level, political affiliation, etc.), they all have one thing in common: they were seriously injured by no fault of their own, and many times this happens when they are under general anesthesia and not even cognizant of what is taking place. I understand how troubling this is and I do all I can to address this with my clients. Many of these injuries are debilitating and permanent such as trigeminal nerve injuries, mental nerve injuries, inferior alveolar nerve injuries, and lingual nerve injuries. Due to the nature of facial nerve injuries, there is a great deal of pain, numbness, and quite frankly disbelief. All of these reactions are real and normal and I do my best to address them with each client that I represent in this area of law.

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This is the question many potential clients call to ask. And it’s a reasonable inquiry, to say the least. Whether one can sue for dental malpractice related to the placement of a dental implant depends on a number of factors including but not limited to: Whether the pre-implant planning process was properly followed; whether an implant surgical guide was used; whether the pre-implant planning measurements were followed in placing the implants; and whether the skills and technical proficiency of the dentist placing the implants meet the standard of care.

Of course, whether one can sue for dental malpractice related to the placement of dental implants will depend on the answers to the above questions. But, the result of the negligence must be a substantial injury from the dental implant placement. In other words, it is not enough that the dental implant procedure did not go well (or you are not happy with the procedure for one reason or another), in order for there to be the basis for a lawsuit, you must have suffered an injury from the dental procedure.

We have seen a proliferation of injuries to the facial nerves after the negligent placement of dental implants. Most of these are from implants placed in the lower jaw (or mandible) which are placed too deep into the jaw and affect the inferior alveolar nerve or the mental nerve, if the implant is placed closer to the front of the mouth. However, there are instances of nerve injuries after the negligent placement of dental implants in the maxillary (upper jaw) although these are much rarer and do not have a classical presentation. From the cases that I have evaluated, the trigeminal nerve most often injured by improperly placed maxillary dental implants is the infra-orbital nerve. This nerve runs out of the foramen (small opening in the skull) just below the eye and runs a course which stays well above the upper teeth. Of course, the improper placement of the dental implant must result in damages in order to support a dental malpractice lawsuit, which in many cases of dental negligence, are substantial. Whether the injury is to the nerves in the lower jaw (much more common) or upper jaw, timely action is needed in order to properly evaluate the cause of the injury and whether a malpractice lawsuit is justified.

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As an Atlanta lawyer who specializes in the handling of dental malpractice cases, I have noticed a rise in the number of dental malpractice claims caused by negligent dental treatment during certain dental procedures. Many of the injuries that we have been seeing are catastrophic and permanent. The cases on the rise that I have seen involve dental nerve injuries sustained after the patient has undergone dental implant placement, root canal therapy and extraction of wisdom teeth and other molars.

Dental malpractice in this area often leads to serious injury due to the proximity of the nerves in the jaw and face to the tooth and mouth structures that are being worked on. For instance, dental implants can cause injury to the nerves in the mouth due to placement of the implant in the wrong position. This often leads to the implant crushing the nerve and the patient is often left with insurmountable pain and numbness. Similarly, if a root canal is not performed according to the applicable standard of care, this too, can lead to a serious dental nerve injury that, in many cases, is permanent and debilitating.

As a dentist licensed in the State of Georgia, a dentist and the acts performed in the dental  practice are governed by and subject to the Georgia Dental Practice Act, O.C.G.A. §§ 43-11-1, et seq. (the “Dental Act”) Under the Dental Act, “dentistry” means the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment, or any combination thereof, whether using surgical or nonsurgical procedures, of diseases, disorders, or conditions, or any combination thereof, of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area, or the adjacent and associated structures, or any combination thereof, and their impact on the human body provided by a dentist, within the scope of his or her education, training, and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law, including, but not limited to, the acts specified in Code Section 43-11-17. When a dentist performs any of the procedures mentioned in the Dental Act, the procedures must be performed within the standard of care or liability attaches to the malpractice.

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Many arguments between dog owners and others start with the picking up of the dog feces. Where do they end? Well sometimes they end with a dog attack and serious injuries. In the City of Atlanta, dog owner have many duties when it comes to their dogs. One such duty is to clean up after them. The City code is as follows:
Sec. 18-9. – Removal of canine fecal matter.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, possessing, harboring or having care, charge, control or custody of any dog not to remove any feces left by that dog on any sidewalk, gutter, street, lot or other public area. Dog waste shall be immediately removed by placing said matter in a closed or sealed container and thereafter disposing of it in a trash receptacle, sanitary disposal unit or other closed or sealed refuse container.

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Recent studies confirm that almost 1/4 of Americans have been negatively impacted by medical errors. While this appears alarming on its face, the scary part, is that the actual number of Americans who have been victimized by medical negligence could be much higher due to unreported medical errors or situations in which medical errors have occurred and are the subject of a coverup by the doctor or hospital.

The recent survey which was conducted by the NORC at the University of Chicago, found that almost 25% of Americans reported having personally experienced a medical error and was careful to note that, when medical errors do occur, they “have a lasting impact on the patient’s physical health, emotional health, financial well-being, or family errors.

In addition to the 25% of Americans that the study uncovered as having personally experienced the results of medical malpractice, 31%, almost 1/3 of Americans, reported that someone who they knew well and whose medical care they were personally involved with experienced the ill-effects of medical malpractice.