Contact us today to schedule a free initial confidential consultation: (302) 777-1000

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Attorney Michael J. Hood Has a New Location!

The law office of Michael J. Hood has moved to a new location:

The office of Michael J. Hood, LLC, we have provided comprehensive legal counsel to personal injury victims in Delaware and Pennsylvania since 1982. We understand the uncertainty and anxiety that come in the aftermath of a personal injury. We will work hard to make certain that you have accurate and up-to-date information at all times. We will learn as much as we can about your accident and injuries so that we can give you a timely and realistic appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of your case, the reasonable value of your claim and your chances of success.

We offer a free initial consultation. For a confidential meeting, contact us online.

Practice Areas

Contact Michael J. Hood

Michael J. Hood represents premises liability accident & personal injury victims in the cities of Wilmington, Newark, Middleton, Seaford, Laurel, Milford, Brookside, Claymont, Pike Creek, Wilmington Manor, Elsmere, Edgemoor, New Castle, Chester, Springfield, West Chester, Broomall, Woodlyn, Elkton and Pennsville. Also serving New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County in Delaware as well as Delaware county, Chester county and Philadelphia county in PA.

Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents

The Most Frequent Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents

Everybody likes to go for a swim on a hot day. Unfortunately, a casual swim can too often lead to serious or catastrophic injury. Statistics show that, every day, an average of 9 people drown in swimming pool accidents in the United States. In fact, accidental drowning is the leading cause of death among children under the age of four. This blog looks at the most common causes of swimming pool accidents.

Failure to Provide Proper Supervision

Without a doubt, the single most frequent cause of swimming pool accidents is lack of supervision, particularly in private homes. Too often, parents will allow young children access to a backyard pool without monitoring their activity. But the risk also applies to teens and adults. Many serious injuries and deaths among teens and adults in pools involve people swimming alone. Studies show that it can take less than five minutes for a person to drown in a swimming pool.

Failure to Erect or Maintain Appropriate Fencing or Other Barriers

A swimming pool is typically referred to as an “attractive nuisance” under the law, something that draws the attention of young children, but can be deadly. Most states have laws requiring barriers to access to a swimming pool, but many property owners either fail to erect barriers, or let them fall into disrepair.

Dangerous or Defective Equipment at a Pool

Broken diving boards or ladders have been the cause of many pool accidents. In addition, there can be problems with drains or other water filtration devices that can trap swimmers under water. Broken tiles around a pool can lead to injury as well.

Electricity in Proximity to the Pool

A frequent cause of injury (including death) around a pool, one that is not often considered, is exposure to electrical current. Swimmers may bring stereos or other electrical devices too close to a pool. Unfortunately, water is a great conductor of electricity.

Contact Our Office

To arrange a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.

Death Benefits for Workers Compensation

Worker’s compensation benefits are meant to provide benefits to employees injured during the course of their employment.  That injury could be caused by an accident or an occupational disease. That injury could also result in the death of the employee, which may entitle the employee’s survivors to benefits. We have handled many workers compensation cases over the years, including those where workers’ lives have been lost.

It’s not just accidents killing workers

If someone thinks of a work related situation that results in the death of an employee, a truck or construction accident, something sudden and traumatic, may come to mind.  But it’s not just accidents that could kill an employee. It may be a long lasting but ultimately fatal occupational disease that ends an employee’s life.

If you have an occupational disease, contact our office to discuss the situation.  You don’t want to wait for it to kill you and have your survivors file for benefits.  You may be entitled to benefits now, and it may be easier to prove your illness is work related while you are still alive.

Employee or non-employee, that can be the question

The injured worker must be an “employee,” meaning the individual’s work must be under the direction and control of the employer. Independent contractors are not covered. In many instances an individual’s status as an employee or independent contractor is disputed.

Employers often have workers sign an acknowledgement or contract stating they are independent contractors to try to avoid responsibility for workers’ compensation coverage and other employment related costs and regulations. Such written acknowledgements will not defeat a claim for benefits if the employer exercised direction and control over the work performed by the deceased individual.

We can assess whether an employment relationship existed, enabling the injured individual to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the circumstances, if the company denies the deceased was an employee, a better option may be filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the company.  Though the plaintiff would need to show the company at fault (unlike workers compensation, which is a no-fault system), far greater damages may be available in court.

Workers Compensation Death Benefits

The workers compensation law provides for the payment of weekly compensation benefits and a burial expense allowance of $3,000.00 in Pennsylvania, $3,500 in Delaware. The benefits, a percentage of the weekly wage, are payable to the employee’s dependents, including a spouse and dependent children.  Benefits are payable to eligible children until age 18, unless they are dependent because of a disability, in which case compensation shall continue during the child’s disability. Benefits to a child can continue to be paid until age 23 if the child is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited educational institution in Pennsylvania, until age 25 in Delaware.

The loss of parent or spouse due to an accident or illness can be traumatic and we provide personal, caring service to make a very difficult time a little bit easier. We have more than 31 years of experience working with families who have lost loved ones and we work hard to get them the compensation they deserve.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

To arrange a free initial consultation to discuss a possible Pennsylvania or Delaware workers compensation claim, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.

Vehicle Fires and Explosions

These incidents may be more common than you think.  From 2008 to 2010, an estimated 194,000 highway vehicle fires occurred in the United States each year resulting in an annual average of approximately 300 deaths, 1,250 injuries and $1.1 billion in property loss. These highway vehicle fires accounted for 14 percent of fires responded to by fire departments across the nation. This according to the U.S. Fire Administration. If you have been injured in such a fire or explosion, we can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.

The Causes of Vehicle Fires

Vehicle fires can have many causes.  There may not be a single cause, but a number of factors contributing to the fire or explosion, including,

  • Fuel system leaks: If the fuel sprays or drips onto a hot part or encounters a spark, it can burn,
  • Electrical system: Failures may cause sparks that ignite spilled or leaked fuel, oil or coolant,
  • Fluid leaks: Fluid (fuel, oil, coolant, brake fluid) leaking into hot parts could ignite,
  • Overheated engine: The pressure and heat from an overheated engine could cause fluids to leak, hit overheated engine parts and burn,
  • Overheated catalytic converter: This part of the exhaust system is under the passenger compartment and helps control pollutants.  If it’s clogged or overheated it can heat up to 2000 degrees.  That kind of heat can burn nearby insulation and the car’s interior,
  • Hybrid and electric vehicle batteries: If they are punctured by a piece of road debris or in an accident, they can burn,
  • Car crash: Though modern crumple zones have made cars much safer, if the gas tank is ruptured or the fuel lines broken and gas is sprayed on hot engine parts, a fire can result,
  • Poor maintenance: If the car owner isn’t getting the car maintained properly or often enough, or the mechanic doing the job makes mistakes, it could create the fluid leaks and electrical problems causing a fire, and
  • Design flaws: The car may be designed in a way that makes it easier for gas tanks to rupture in an accident, for fluids to leak or electrical systems to short and spark.

If severe enough, a burn can be life threatening, cause extensive scarring and life long disability.  The burn and its treatment may be incredibly painful.

When we represent clients in these cases, we thoroughly investigate the cause of the fire or explosion to determine who is the responsible party.  Though the immediate cause of a vehicle fire could be a collision, a design flaw or negligent car maintenance may also be contributing factors.  If there is more than one party to blame, all the parties may be named as defendants in a legal action.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle fire or explosion, for a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000.

When Medicine Does More Harm Than Good

It’s been estimated that approximately 1.3 million people are injured annually in the United States following “medication errors,” according to an article on

A Food and Drug Administration study evaluated reports of fatal medication errors from 1993 to 1998 and found that:

  • The most common error concerned administration of an improper dose of medication, accounting for 41% of fatal medication errors,
  • Giving the wrong drug and using the wrong route of administration each accounted for 16% of the errors, and
  • Nearly half of the fatal medication errors occurred in people over the age of 60. They may be at the greatest risk for medication errors because they often take multiple prescription medications.

Poor communication can result in medication errors

Major problems with medications can happen after a patient is discharged, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. It discusses a study of 851 patients hospitalized due to heart disease. Half met with a pharmacist on admission and at discharge to discuss their medications and their proper usage. Even despite this extra help, half of these patients had one or more medication errors at home during the first month (23% were serious, 2% were life-threatening). The study authors state many of the errors were preventable and the number of errors were about the same whether the pharmacist saw the patient or not.

What causes these problems? Patients may not take the time to understand the medications and their instructions, but health care providers also share the blame, according to one of the study authors, Dr. Jeffrey Schnipper,

  • patients are sent home with medication regimens that aren’t integrated with medications they were taking before they arrived;
  • medication instructions may not be clearly written;
  • inconsistent communication between the hospital staff and the patient’s primary care team may lead to dangerous drug interactions; and
  • physicians don’t check on a patient’s recovery often enough.

Patients can take steps to stay out of trouble

To help avoid medication errors, the Mayo Clinic suggests patients fully understand what medications they’re taking; when, how much and how often to take the medication; any limitations on food, drink or activities due to the medication and any side effects. Patients also need to tell their treating physicians

  • all the medications they’re taking, including over-the-counter products and supplements;
  • any medications that they’re allergic to or that have caused problems in the past;
  • any current chronic or serious health problems; and
  • if the patient is pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Modern pharmaceuticals are capable of extending life and improving the quality of life, but only if the right medicine is given for the right condition, in the right dosage in the right way. That doesn’t always happen and some patients can be severely injured, or killed, as a result.

Contact Our Office

We help clients facing medical malpractice issues, including medication errors. If you or a loved one have been harmed because of a medication error, contact our office online or call us at (302) 777-1000. There is no charge for your first visit.

Surgical Surprises You Don’t Want

Surgery is serious business.  Every surgery carries an element of risk for some complications, but there are complications that are the result of negligence.  You trust your surgeon to do the best job he or she can do.  When surgery results in injuries due to medical malpractice, you can feel like that trust has been violated and you have to deal with new health problems, maybe more serious than the issues you originally sought to treat. If you find yourself in this situation, we can help.

A surgeon commits medical malpractice when his/her conduct falls below the accepted standard of care, compared to reasonably competent surgeons practicing the same area of surgery under similar circumstances, the patient is harmed as a result and suffers damages.

All medical errors, including surgical and anesthesia errors, affect 44,000 to 98,000 patients each year, according to a 1999 Institute of Medicine study. Patients having surgery in the U.S. experience mistakes that should never have happened about 80 times a week, based on a review of medical liability settlements and judgments from 1990 to 2010 collected in the National Practitioner Data Bank. The December 2012 issue of Surgery published the findings.

Surgical errors may include:

  • Wrong-site surgery,
  • Incorrect incisions,
  • Leaving equipment inside a patient,
  • Operating on the wrong patient,
  • Damaging nerves, blood vessels and organs,
  • Causing infections, and
  • Anesthesia errors.

Surgeons and the surgical team should follow protocols before, during and after surgery to reduce the risks of a mistake. Despite these steps, surgical negligence still occurs and can be a result of:

  • Insufficient planning: The surgical team should have the patient’s medical history, including reactions to medications, and evaluate the risks of surgery on the patient,
  • Poor communication:
  • The surgical team needs to be fully and accurately informed of what’s going on,
  • The patient’s identity and surgical site must be confirmed,
  • The surgeon needs to be aware of the relevant issues impacting the surgery, and
  • Surgical equipment must be accounted for after a procedure.
  • Fatigue or under the influence:  Surgeons or staff suffering from fatigue or under the influence of drugs or alcohol may make poor decisions which can lead to surgical errors. An estimated 15% of surgeons have alcohol abuse or dependency problems (compared to 9% of the general population) and these surgeons were 45% more likely to admit a major medical error in the previous three months, according to a study published in 2012,
  • Neglect: Using defective or unsterilized equipment can lead to infections, septic shock, and other life threatening conditions, and
  • Incompetence: Not everyone is cut out to be a surgeon.  Though a physician may be knowledgeable and skilled, that doesn’t mean being a surgeon is the right job for him or her.

Contact Our Office

If you or a loved one is the victim of surgical negligence, come to our office for a free initial consultation. To schedule a meeting to discuss your potential medical malpractice claim, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Our office is open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We will travel to your home or the hospital if necessary.

Dietary Supplement Dangers

Dietary supplements may offer the prospect of a healthier, stronger, more youthful you, but the reality may just be the opposite.  A supplement may do you more harm than good.

Federal regulation of dietary supplements is far more lax than pharmaceuticals.  While drug makers must show the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a new drug is safe and effective for its intended use before it can be approved for sale, a dietary supplement maker doesn’t have to show anything to anyone.

Under federal law, dietary supplements need not be registered with the FDA.  It’s up to the manufacturers to make sure the product is safe and that labels are truthful and not misleading.  Manufacturers are also entrusted to submit to the FDA any adverse event reports they receive.

The FDA and Dietary Supplements

With this hands off approach to regulation, the general public has become guinea pigs for dietary supplements.  An example is the Healthy Life Chemistry By Purity First B-50, marketed as a vitamin B dietary supplement. One thing the FDA can do is take action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. Last July it warned consumers not to use these supplements because of 29 reports of adverse reactions.

After laboratory analysis of the supplement, the FDA also found a nasty surprise for consumers: two potentially harmful anabolic steroids (one a controlled substance), not listed as ingredients, were part of the supplement.  According to the FDA, anabolic steroid use may cause acute liver injury. Some of the incidents reported to the FDA resulted in hospitalization, but there were no reports of death or acute liver failure.

The FDA states anabolic steroid use may cause other serious long-term consequences, including adverse effects on blood lipid levels, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, masculinization of women, shrinkage of the testicles, breast enlargement, infertility in males and short stature in children.

The FDA asked the product’s manufacturer, Mira Health Products Ltd. in Farmingdale, New York, to recall the product and warn consumers of potential health effects.  It refused.

Without any further action by the FDA, it’s up to the legal system to hold Mira accountable.  Earlier this month a product consumer in New York filed a lawsuit against Mira in state court alleging negligence and recklessness, failure to warn consumers and defective design.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff, Manya DuHuffmann, suffered skin rashes, fatigue, severe muscle cramping, unusual hair growth and hair loss, deepening of her voice and increased blood lipid levels and liver enzyme levels. Even now, after discontinuing use, she is still allegedly experiencing pain, disability, emotional distress and economic loss.

This is an instance where if federal law and a federal agency can’t or won’t prevent harm to a consumer, a personal injury attorney can seek damages for his client and hopefully bring about positive change. Perhaps a verdict for the plaintiff may lead to changes in the product or stop its sales entirely.

Contact the Law Office of Michael J. Hood, LLC

If you or a loved one may have suffered serious side effects due to a dietary supplement, (302) 777-1000. There is no charge or obligation for your first visit. Our office is open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We will travel to your home or the hospital if necessary.

The Law Office of Michael J. Hood represents accident & injury victims throughout Delaware and Pennsylvania including individuals in New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County in Delaware. Also Delaware county, Chester county and Philadelphia county in PA.

Wrongful Death Suit

The purpose of a wrongful death suit is to recover damages from a responsible party for the loss of a family member. Each state has its own legislation on what is required to file a wrongful death suit, and the statute of limitations is very limited, so it is important to act quickly. A large number of wrongful deaths result from a loved one being killed at the hands of a drunk driver. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) a drunk driver kills someone every 51 minutes. That is over 10,000 people per year. Additionally, 3,000 people were killed in 2011 in what the NHTSA calls “distracted driving” accidents, which involve texting while driving or the use of other electronic devices. If you have lost a family member due to the negligence of another The Law Office of Michael J. Hood can help.

The NHTSA also reports that 5,953 passengers in vehicles were killed in 2011. If your loved one was killed while riding in a vehicle, it was likely though no fault of their own, yet their family must suffer. Coping with the loss of a loved one can be one of the most trying times of your life, and it is intensified when it is the result of someone else’s negligence.

At the Law Office of Michael J. Hood, we bring more than 31 years of experience to our clients in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Our clients appreciate our straightforward approach to wrongful death claims. We will carefully gather as much information as we can about your case so that we can give you a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses, what you can realistically expect to recover and your likelihood of success.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

We offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. We are open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We will travel to the hospital or your home to meet with you if you are unable to travel.