Injured - FindLaw Accident, Personal Injury and Tort Law Blog

Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

Top 3 Injury Questions From FindLaw Answers: December 2014

You've got questions... we've got answers. If you have not yet asked or answered a question in FindLaw's Answers community, what are you waiting for? This amazing free resource supports a dynamic community of legal consumers and attorneys helping each other out. Simple as that.

We see a lot of great questions in our Answers community every day. Here's a look at the Top 3 recent questions from our personal injury boards:

1. Should a company that manufactures football helmets be liable for the injuries sustained by a player?

Settlements may seem as easy as signing an agreement and being handed a check, but you might still need an attorney by your side.

Why? Well as it turns out, there are various legal issues that can go wrong or unnoticed during the settlement process. And while you may hope for the best, an attorney can actually safeguard your interests.

So why would you hire a lawyer even if you plan to settle?

Under certain circumstances, the plaintiff in a personal injury case may choose to pursue a lawsuit in civil court or opt to take the case to small claims court instead.

But which should you choose? Both options of course have advantages and disadvantages. And though small claims court may not be an option in all cases, in many cases it may offer a less expensive, less time-consuming path to recovery.

What should you know when deciding whether to take an injury case to small claims court or to hire a lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit?

The family of John Crawford III is suing Walmart and the Beavercreek, Ohio, police department for wrongful death after the 22-year-old father was shot and killed in August.

Crawford was shot by a Beavercreek police officer responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun at Walmart; Crawford was holding a BB gun that he'd found unattended in the store. A grand jury in September declined to indict the officer or his partner for the fatal shooting. The Washington Post reports that Crawford's family is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

Why is Walmart being sued over Crawford's death?

Workers' compensation is the insurance system set up to provide benefits to employees injured on the job. But does workers' compensation also provide coverage for independent contractors?

Generally, independent contractors are not eligible for workers' compensation benefits. But independent contractors who are injured on the job should not automatically assume that they will be unable to receive benefits. In some instances, employees may be misclassified as "independent contractors." In these cases, an injured worker that is able to prove that the circumstances or his or her employment are such that he or she should be considered an employee may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.

What factors are used to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor?

GM has agreed to compensate 42 claimants for deaths related to an ignition-switch defect, part of more than 2,000 death and injury claims that have been filed against the car manufacturer so far.

Victims and their families who were injured by the faulty ignition switch have until January 31 to submit their claims, which will be categorized based on the severity of the injuries, reports GM anticipates that total compensation related to the ignition-switch defect will run anywhere from $400 million to $600 million.

What should car owners know about this GM injury claims process?

We tend to think of the worst when thinking of injuries related to airplanes. But while a deadly crash is one risk of air travel, what's far more likely is a mild to serious injury in-flight.

Falling bags, forcefully pushed service carts, and even pilot error can lead to injuries like you might experience on solid ground.

So how can you recover when you're injured on an airplane?

In a personal injury lawsuit involving negligence, it's not always true that the person being sued was the only one at fault in causing the accident.

Often, the person who was injured was also partly negligent in causing his own injuries. Called contributory negligence, this fault on the part of the plaintiff can potentially be used as a defense by the defendant.

But is contributory negligence a complete defense to liability, or can a person who is negligent still win an injury case?

Movie theaters are no stranger to dramatic falls, earth-shaking explosions, and even bloody assaults. But we generally expect those dangerous events to take place on the screen and not in the aisle.

But with the floors lined with imitation butter, and lighting less than adequate, it requires no spoiler alert to say that anyone can suffer a slip-and-fall accident at the movies.

So can you sue if you do slip and fall at a movie theater?

Although a subpar meal isn't likely to be sufficient grounds for a lawsuit, there are some circumstances in which a customer may consider pursuing legal action against a restaurant.

At a TGI Fridays in New York, a holiday promotion featuring drone helicopters adorned with mistletoe hovering over patrons provides an example of such a circumstance. A photographer was injured when she was struck by a drone's rotor blade in the nose, suffering a cut, reports Brooklyn Daily.

It's not clear if the woman injured by the drone is considering legal action. But whether an injury is caused by a drone, by food poisoning, or by a slippery floor caused by a spilled drink, what is generally required for a lawsuit against a restaurant?