January 2012 News: Injured
Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

January 2012 Archives

Top 5 Things to Do After an Injury

Injuries are stressful. Trying to get someone else to pay for your injuries can be even worse.

But it doesn't have to be. Whether you've been in an auto accident, were attacked by a dog, or are the victim of a slip and fall, there are some easy things you can to do to lessen the headache.

In fact, you should try doing the following five things after an injury -- they'll help.

Bedbugs + Ritz-Carlton = One Worried Hotel

Bedbugs don't discriminate -- though at $695 a night, you'd hope they did.

The New York incarnation of the Ritz-Carlton has bedbugs. Lots of them, too. A pest elimination company has been called in to treat rooms, and workers have been trained on how to identify the pesky bloodsuckers.

But one room attendant is still scared -- what if she brought them home? What are you supposed to do when there are bedbugs at work?

DWI Suspect 'Forgotten' in Jail for 2 Years Gets $22M

Would you like to be forgotten in jail? How about stuffed in a solitary cell without promise of release?

Stephen Slevin was -- and his confinement lasted for almost two years. Officials in Dona Ana County still refuse to admit any wrongdoing , but a jury recently disagreed.

Slevin was awarded $22 million -- the perceived cost of his confinement and the degradation of his mental health.

A mother's New York City subway lawsuit seeks $50 million for the death of her son, who was roaming the underground tunnels after a night of partying with friends.

Marva Nelson faults NYC's Metropolitan Transportation Authority for not doing a diligent enough search for her son Briant Rowe, 24, of Brooklyn, after he jumped onto the tracks in November, the New York Daily News reports.

"If proper protocols were enforced, it is our view that Briant would still be alive today," Nelson's attorney told the Daily News. But it's not clear what those "proper protocols" actually entail.

Will 'Black Boxes' Be Mandatory in New Cars?

Car accident investigations can be tough. Imagine sifting through twisted metal and shards of glass. It's not always easy to uncover what exactly happened. That's why "black boxes" in cars may soon become a reality.

Most Americans know what "black boxes" are. Authorities scrounge the ocean and ground for the device after planes crash. The device tracks and records what happened on the aircraft. It illuminates possible reasons the accident occurred.

A similar device could be installed on vehicles.

TX Murderer's Grandma Sued for Grandson's Crime

Are parents liable for adult children?

Not usually, which is why a lawsuit filed by the mother of Staci Montgomery is quite unique.

In December 2009, Montgomery was murdered by Scott Marshall -- the former law firm partner of her ex-husband. Her mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Marshall, his parents and his 92-year-old grandmother.

She believes their negligent actions contributed to her daughter's death.

A malfunctioning New York City traffic light is the focus of a potential personal-injury lawsuit. But laws about how to sue cities may stop the suit in its tracks.

A broken traffic signal gave green lights in all directions at a busy Bronx intersection in March 2011, the New York Post reports. A car and a cab crashed at the intersection, both facing a green light.

Jonathan Diaz, 31, was driving the car and suffered a spinal injury that left him disabled. Diaz now wants to sue the city for the four-way green light -- but a legal technicality has him seeing red.

Who Would Win This Dog Attack Lawsuit?

There you are, walking Princess, your fluffy Pomeranian. She's even decked-out in her rhinestoned pink leash. Out of nowhere, Cookie, the vicious Chihuahua, walks out of your neighbor's door. Her owner is nowhere in sight.

But Princess and Cookie do not get along. So Cookie attacks. She practically mauls your furry friend. You've now got hundreds of dollars in vet bills and your neighbor won't pay.

Who's responsible when a dog attacks another dog? If you sued, would you win your dog attack lawsuit?

NY Six Flags Sued Over Norovirus Outbreak

A New York Six Flags is being sued over a 2008 norovirus outbreak that afflicted many of its customers. Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark was the site of more than 600 cases of gastrointestinal illness.

The outbreak was documented by New York's Department of Health. The sickness was supposedly linked to contaminated food and pool water.

The class action suit has been filed on behalf of more than 100 plaintiffs. Those infected suffered bouts of illness. Symptoms included vomiting and diarrhea.

An Ultimate Power Meal lawsuit blames the over-the-counter vitamin and energy supplement for causing an elderly New Jersey woman's death.

Helen Shulman, 89, suffered kidney failure and heart damage after she consumed Gary Null's Ultimate Power Meal over a three-month period, the lawsuit claims, according to the New York Post. Shulman died in July.

The suit, filed in Manhattan by Shulman's relatives, is believed to be the first wrongful-death lawsuit in connection with Gary Null's Ultimate Power Meal. But it's not the first suit to claim adverse health effects from the Power Meal -- most notably, by alternative-health guru Gary Null himself.

Cruise-ship disasters like the deadly Costa Concordia accident in Italy raise questions for passengers: What are your rights when you're injured on a cruise ship?

The answer depends on what's in your cruise contract, and where the injury took place. Here are some general guidelines.

Your cruise contract

Your cruise tickets are probably the first place to look for contract terms that explain your rights. Many cruise lines impose requirements on passengers who seek to sue for cruise-ship injuries, for example:

Rescuers continue to search for survivors in the wake of a deadly Italian cruise ship disaster. But injured passengers and crew likely won't be able to pursue cruise-related lawsuits in the United States.

The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia -- one of the largest ever to be wrecked -- is owned by a company called Costa Crociere, Agence France Presse reports. Already, more than 70 passengers have joined a lawsuit seeking compensation from Costa Crociere in an Italian court, AFP reports.

Costa Crociere is actually owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp., Reuters reports. But experts say legal action likely cannot take place in the United States. Here's why:

Can You Sue a Dead Person?

Can you sue a dead person? The answer is yes, via the dead person's estate. But whether or not you'll be able to recover any money may depend on how quickly you pursue your claim.

The ability to sue a dead person's estate typically arises under two scenarios: When the deceased has debts to be repaid, and when the deceased's negligence caused injury or death to another party.

Under either scenario, time is of the essence.

I'll Have a Whopper, Hold the Spit

A Burger King lawsuit accuses the fast-food chain of causing emotional distress by serving Whopper spit. But the spit-burger suit by Clark County, Wash., Sheriff's Deputy Edward Bylsma is now on hold.

Bylsma's beef with Burger King began at a drive-thru window in Vancouver, Wash., Reuters reports. Bylsma claims he ordered a Whopper -- but it was topped with an unwanted ingredient.

Bylsma pulled back the burger's bun and found a "slimy, clear and white phlegm glob." Bylsma touched the Whopper spit, but he didn't eat the burger, his lawsuit claims.

Inmate Can't Sue for Prison for Injury

Did you know that there are more than 25,000 inmates housed in 13 private federal prisons?

Well, there are. And those inmates can't sue private prison employees for violating the 8th Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

No, according to a new ruling by the Supreme Court, federal inmates must sue  private prison employees in state courts. They must also base their claims on state tort law. No constitutional law allowed.

NC Sterilization Victims Deserve $50,000, Panel Says

North Carolina's sterilization law forced medical procedures on thousands of U.S. citizens decades ago. An assembled task force has now declared that victims should receive $50,000 each.

This could amount to a total payout of around $100 million. The compensation will need to be approved by the state legislature.

North Carolina would be the first to offer financial compensation to individuals harmed by the state eugenics program.

A New York herpes lawsuit claims a disgraced Texas hand surgeon allegedly infected his ex-girlfriend with herpes after failing to disclose his disease.

Former surgeon Michael Glyn Brown, 54, of Houston, claimed he was disease-free before he moved in with his then-girlfriend, an unidentified businesswoman in Manhattan, the New York Post reports.

But after months of living together, the woman showed signs of a sexually transmitted disease. "She went to see a doctor," her lawyer told the Post. "And when she saw how serious it was, she went to see a lawyer."

Family of FAMU Hazing Victim to Sue Bus Owner

The family of the FAMU hazing victim will file a lawsuit against Fabulous Coach Lines. The company owns the bus where 26-year-old marching band member Robert Champion died.

Champion's family says that the bus company was negligent. They also alleged it contributed to Champion's untimely death.

Champion passed away on November 19 after a football game. He died after a particularly violent form of hazing.

Are Silicone Injections Legal?

Silicone injections have been getting a bad rap as of late. There was the man who died after receiving a penis injection. And then there was the group of women whose botched butt injections required hospitalization.

There's no doubt that silicone injections can lead to complications. But amongst all of this talk, there is one question that has yet to be answered:

Are silicone injections legal?

A fitness trainer left partially paralyzed in an NYC elevator accident is suing the same elevator-repair company linked to a separate elevator accident that crushed and killed a woman between floors.

Corey Hill, 34, of Manhattan, filed suit against Transel Elevator in connection with the Nov. 12 accident that allegedly crippled him, the New York Post reports.

Hill's NYC elevator accident lawsuit claims he stepped into an elevator on the 26th floor of his apartment building and pressed the button for the lobby. The elevator unexpectedly started to freefall, then jerked to a stop several floors down, the Post reports.

Hill thought he was just shaken, but the next day, he had problems moving his legs, Hill told the Post. The problems escalated, and Hill soon lost all sensation in his legs and couldn't move them, he said.

A lawsuit claims teachers in suburban Chicago forced a 6-year-old boy to crawl back to class with a broken leg and a concussion, and never even called an ambulance.

The suit, filed by the boy's parents, seeks more than $200,000 in damages from Skokie School District 68, just north of Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Kindergartener Rahul Chandani slipped on a snow- and ice-covered playground in January 2011, the lawsuit alleges. The boy broke his leg and hit his head on the pavement, but teachers didn't lift a finger to help, Chandani's mother told the Sun-Times.

"His teacher told him, 'You're a big boy -- I can't carry you,'" Priya Chandani said.

Girl, 7, Dies from Allergic Reaction at School

Virginia first-grader Ammaria Johnson's allergy killed her. Her unfortunate death has now sparked renewed scrutiny and questions about whether or not EpiPen should be stocked by schools.

The EpiPen is a small device that injects epinephrine. It's prescription-only. It reverses severe symptoms of allergies.

And it might have saved Johnson's life. The first-grader suffered a severe allergic reaction during recess. She went to the school clinic with hives and was suffering from a shortness of breath. The school called 911 sometime after. When emergency crews arrived she was already in cardiac arrest, according to ABC News. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

NY Woman Sues for Puppy's Pain, Suffering

In a unique lawsuit, Elena Zakharova is suing a Manhattan pet store for the pain and suffering experienced by her dog, Umka. Four months after she purchased the female Brussels Griffon, it developed a congenital joint disorder.

Umka is in pain every time she walks.

Though sad, pets are considered property under the law. Property can't seek damages for pain and suffering. What's the deal?

Cop Stalks Woman He Ticketed for a Date

Speeding tickets and dates just don't mix -- ask Evangelina Paredes.

The single mom was driving through Stickney, Ill. in October when Officer Chris Collins issued her a ticket. She put the encounter behind her, only to be reminded of it two days later.

Collins had located her apartment complex and left a note on her car. In it he asked her out on a date.

She's now suing Collins and the Stickney police force, claiming invasion of privacy.

New New Jersey Law Requires Ski, Snowboard Helmet

If you're gearing up for the New Jersey ski season, be aware that the state's new ski helmet law has gone into effect.

New Jersey's ski helmet law requires all minors to wear helmets while downhill skiing or snowboarding, and while on ski tows, lifts and tramways. Adults -- parents, guardians and persons in a supervisory position -- will face a $25 fine should a child under their care be caught without a helmet.

Additional offenses will cost $100 apiece.

A witness to last month's gruesome New York City elevator accident is planning to sue for trauma.

Kathleen Mullahy, 36, of Queens, was inside an elevator in a midtown Manhattan office building Dec. 14 when the elevator malfunctioned. Coworker Suzanne Hart, 41, had just stepped into the elevator when it unexpectedly shot up, crushing Hart between floors and killing her, the New York Daily News reports.

Mullahy witnessed the bloody accident, and was trapped inside the elevator with Hart's body parts "for an extended period of time," Mullahy's sworn affidavit states, according to the Daily News.

As a result, Mullahy has been so traumatized she can no longer use elevators "out of fear of bodily injury and/or death," she writes the affidavit.

Am I Civilly Liable for My Kids' Actions?

When kids hit their rebellious teenage years, parents often wonder if they can be sued for their children's actions. In many states, yes, parents are on the hook. Parental liability, however, is dependent on the statutes in your jurisdiction.

Depending on where you live, you may be liable for what your kids do and what kind of damage they inflict.

Many states have enacted statutes that impose both civil and criminal liability for parents.