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Matthew D. Kaplan

Earlier this week, we looked at the ongoing problem of people with addictions dying inside area jails. Many times, these people die because of improper care (or no care at all) in managing the detox process. Jails have healthcare service providers who are supposed to be able to handle these inmates (or else transfer them to someplace that can.) When an inmate dies because they did not receive proper medical care, that represents a potential violation of their civil rights. If your family has lost a loved one in this way, a knowledgeable Oregon jail medical neglect lawyer can help you to get to the truth.

One thing that’s common in these cases is the speed of deterioration. The U.S. Department of Justice looked at a broad array of these deaths and found that the “median length of stay in jail before death from alcohol or drug intoxication was just 1 day.”

So, why are inmates and detainees abruptly dying so soon after entering lockup? Law offices that handle these cases — including this office — often have the depressing answers.

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In 2017, a Portland news source reported on “a string of heroin-related deaths behind bars.” In the years since, the opioid crisis still rages, and inmates are still dying abruptly in lockup, often as a result of the side effects of detoxing. When that happens due to a lack of basic medical care (such as providing IV fluids or prescription medicine,) then those responsible for providing that care may have done something that’s more than callous. They may have violated that inmate’s civil rights. If your family has been impacted by one of these kinds of events, an experienced Oregon jail death lawyer can give you keen insight and knowledgeable advice about your situation.

According to area news reports, sometime during the afternoon of Aug. 21, 2022, inside a holding cell at the Curry County Jail, a 34-year-old woman, Heather Iverson, lay dying. By the time deputies found her (at around 6:00 pm), she was already dead. While details about Iverson’s death remain sparse, this isn’t the first time an inmate/detainee has died suddenly at the Curry County Jail.

In 2017, local police arrested a 24-year-old woman on outstanding warrants. During her booking, Cassadi Renee Bond informed the staff that she had used heroin before her arrest. Allegedly, the Curry County Sheriff’s Office and medical staff “closely monitored” the woman for “any signs of opioid withdrawal.” Despite that alleged “close” monitoring, the woman deteriorated to such a degree that, within 72 hours of her arrest, she was found unresponsive in her cell. She never regained consciousness.

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Summertime in Oregon is an excellent time to take in the scenery aboard a motorcycle. As motorcyclists know, whenever they hit the road, they are among the most vulnerable to serious or fatal injuries if a collision occurs. Often, much or all of the blame for these catastrophic crashes rests upon a car, truck, or SUV driver who failed to maintain a properly diligent lookout. When that happens and a severe or fatal injury impacts your family, a knowledgeable Portland motorcycle accident lawyer can provide you with invaluable aid as you navigate the legal system.

Sadly, the last several weeks have been extremely deadly for motorcyclists across Oregon. In late June and early July alone, two crashes in Central Oregon left two motorcyclists dead.

In the June crash, the driver of a Ford Thunderbird collided with a motorcyclist and his passenger at an intersection along Highway 97. Oregon State Police indicated that the driver of the car “failed to stop at the intersection,” colliding with the couple’s motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle, a 65-year-old man from Washington, died at the scene. The passenger, the deceased’s 62-year-old wife, suffered critical injuries, according to a Central Oregon Daily report.

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In 2018, CNBC reported that “more than 250,000 people in the United States die every year because of medical mistakes, making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer,” according to research conducted by Johns Hopkins. The Journal of Patient Safety concluded that the number of deaths attributable to medical errors actually was more than 400,000. Inevitably, thousands of those annual deaths occur right here in Oregon. Families impacted by medical negligence only have a limited period of time to pursue legal action, which is why contacting a knowledgeable Oregon medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible is crucial.

Late last month, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued a ruling that revived a widow’s medical malpractice case against the hospital and doctors who treated her husband.

This case is a reminder of several important things, but we’ll focus on two. The first is the prevalence of fatal mistakes by medical providers. As noted above, reputable sources have placed the number of deaths in the hundreds of thousands every year. These mistakes include everything from prescribing (or administering) the wrong drug (or the wrong dosage) to leaving surgical instruments inside patients after operations to making incorrect diagnoses as a result of reviewing the wrong test results.

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When parents with young children purchase a new vehicle, they may pore over data regarding the vehicle’s safety ratings, including its safety in side-impact collisions. Unlike that new car, van, or SUV, the car seat carrying those same parents’ young child may not have undergone similarly rigorous side-impact crash testing. When a car seat fails to perform as it should in a crash and a child is injured, the law allows those families to seek compensation, and they should contact a knowledgeable Oregon child injury lawyer right away.

Late last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a new rule that modified the existing “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213,” which is the rule covering child car seats. For decades, federal regulations required manufacturers to put their car seats through crash simulation testing that replicated a “30-mph frontal impact.” The new amendment “establishes a side impact test that replicates a 30-mph side collision, commonly known as a T-bone crash. ”

This amendment to the rule is a welcome addition, but it was a long time in coming. Congress initially called for the addition of side-impact standards to the rule more than 20 years ago, in 2000.

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When a loved one has been hurt (or has died) because they did not receive proper medical care while incarcerated, the ultimate goal always is to get justice. Simply obtaining a court document that generally says “judgment for the plaintiff” may not always, in and of itself, be enough. A truly successful case means asserting all the right claims and holding all the responsible parties accountable. As you and your family seek to do that, be sure to rely on a knowledgeable Oregon civil rights lawyer experienced in handling jail medical neglect cases.

Maximizing your case’s strength often means, among other things, including in your lawsuit every person and entity liable for the harm your loved one endured. When it comes to doing that, a recent ruling from the Oregon Supreme Court is very helpful for prisoners harmed by mistreatment (or the families of prisoners killed by such negligence.)

The prisoner in the case had diabetes. He also was deaf and communicated using American Sign Language (ASL). A Clackamas County deputy who did not understand ASL tried to communicate with him. The deputy wrongfully identified the prisoner as a suicide risk and placed him on suicide watch.

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The wrongful and unexpected death of a loved one can be overwhelming. It often involves grieving and caring for other affected family members. It may include having to plan final arrangements while also fielding phone calls from insurers and others seeking to obtain a quick (and cheap) settlement of your legal claims. As you deal with your family matters, rely on an experienced Oregon wrongful death lawyer to provide the assistance you need in addressing the legal matters.

This skillful representation matters because your case may involve a large amount of damages and will probably encounter a vigorous (and well-funded) opposition. A knowledgeable legal advocate can make sure everything is done properly… and on time.

Timing is a crucial element, as a recent federal wrongful death case shows. The case involved a Washington man who worked in shipyards for much of his 20s, often working with and/or near materials that contained asbestos.

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No one deserves to die a slow, painful death because their numerous pleas for medical treatment fell on deaf ears among those responsible for providing that care. Unfortunately, that exact outcome happens too often in jails and prisons in Oregon and around the country. In many of these cases, the entity responsible for providing medical care to those inmates is a private, for-profit company to which the state or county has outsourced medical care responsibilities. Whether or not the wrongdoer was a state/county agency or a private contractor, when an inmate dies from inadequate medical care, that inmate’s family (estate) very likely has a negligence claim and possibly a civil rights action. That family should contact an Oregon jail death lawyer about the proper legal steps to take. Timing is critical in these cases in order to preserve evidence and investigative materials as well as to send the proper tort claim notices to preserve claims against public entities.

Another month has delivered yet another report of an inmate’s death inside a jail. Voices of Monterey Bay‘s recent report focuses on one of the bigger (and more notorious) private contractors providing prison medical care, Wellpath.

The California inmate who died, according to one source, had been moved from the Monterey County Jail’s general population after expressing “suicidal thoughts.” However, on the night of April 19, he was removed from suicide watch, according to a nurse. The next morning, a deputy found him unresponsive. The inmate died from asphyxia, the result of the massive amount of toilet paper he stuffed up his nose and down his throat, according to the coroner.

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Portland is a place with a lot of pedestrians. Some people eschew horsepower for foot power to help the planet, others do so to take in the beautiful sights and sounds of the city, while still others do so out of financial necessity. Whatever the reasons, Portland pedestrians should be safe as they traverse the city’s roads. Too often though, that doesn’t happen. Sometimes, it’s the result of a negligent driver. Other times, hazardous conditions on and around the road play a role. Whatever the specifics of your case, an experienced Portland pedestrian accident lawyer can help you at all steps in the process, from investigating the accident scene to the resolution of your case.

Oregon Route 213 is known by many names, including Lancaster Drive, Silverton Road, and Cascade Highway. However, Portlanders know Route 213 better as 82nd Avenue.

Following a recent unanimous vote of the City Council, the City of Portland will take ownership from the state of a seven-mile stretch of 82nd Avenue that runs through East Portland from the international airport to the city’s southern boundary, Oregonlive.com has reported.

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As we mentioned earlier this month, losing a loved one due to the negligence of someone with whom you entrusted them is an indescribably painful thing. As you and your family cope with the massive personal loss, there are still the legal ramifications and the financial loss your family has suffered as well. As you and your family work to heal, look to an experienced Oregon wrongful death lawyer to handle all of your litigation needs.

A skillful injury attorney is vitally important for many reasons. One of the biggest is advice and counsel about the many crucial decisions you’ll have to make throughout the process. For example… should you settle or continue litigating? Should you pursue your case in state court or federal court?

Once you’ve made a state-versus-federal court choice, an experienced attorney can fight to keep your wrongful death case in that court.

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50 SW Pine St 3rd Floor Portland, OR 97204 Telephone: (503) 226-3844 Fax: (503) 943-6670 Email: matthew@mdkaplanlaw.com
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