Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

February 2013 Archives

Peanut Recall of 2009 Leads to Criminal Charges

The salmonella outbreak of 2009 has finally culminated in an indictment.

Maybe culminated is not the word, since an indictment is only the beginning in a criminal lawsuit.

Executives from the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) are facing criminal charges of fraud and conspiracy stemming from the 2009 salmonella outbreak, reports Wired.com.

Man Sues After Waking During Cataract Surgery

A Mississippi man has brought a lawsuit against hospital after he allegedly woke up during cataract surgery.

Hector Alonso filed his medical malpractice lawsuit against Tulane University Medical Center. He says that he underwent cataract surgery on his right eye, but woke up in the middle of the procedure, reports CBS Houston.

He asked the doctors to stop the procedure as he alerted them of his conscious state. However, instead of accommodating the patient and halting the procedure, Alonso accuses the hospital of essentially torturing him and costing him vision in that eye.

Wrongful Death: Who Can File?

A lawsuit for wrongful death is a claim that a person’s life was taken due to the negligence of another person or company. It’s not an accusation of criminal wrongdoing, but it does ask the defendant to pay for the damage caused.

But there’s a big difference between wrongful death and most other civil lawsuits: the person who was injured isn’t the plaintiff.

The reason for that should be obvious given what the lawsuit is about. But that leaves us a nagging question. Who can file the suit?

BP Oil Spill Trial Begins, Billions at Stake

The BP oil spill may have already cost the oil company billions in its criminal trial. However, the company stands to lose a lot more as the civil trial over the 2010 oil spill begins this week.

Previously, BP had pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to pay out a $4 billion fine for the spill. However, for its alleged “gross negligence” in causing the spill, BP could face an additional $20 billion in environmental penalties, reports CNN.

As the trial begins, BP attorneys attempted to deflect some of the blame by saying that BP was not alone in causing the oil spill. Instead, lawyers for the giant oil company said that a string of bad decisions by everyone involved including Transocean, the company that owned the drill rig Deepwater Horizon, and Halliburton, the cement contractor, contributed to the spill.

Is There a Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents?

If you’ve been in a car accident, you might be curious to know whether or not there is a time limit for a lawsuit to be brought.

In some cases, you’ll be wondering if there a time span in which a car accident lawsuit may be brought against you. In other cases, you’ll be wondering how long you have to bring a lawsuit.

What is the statute of limitations for a car accident lawsuit? There are many things to consider when answering this question.

Mom Sues Gas Station After Son Set on Fire

Darrell Brackett suffered horribly on Christmas night when he was set on fire at a local gas station, after filling up a portable container with gas. The 44-year-old died in February as a result of his injuries.

He was burned on 75 percent of his body after three men attacked, doused him in gas, and lit him on fire. At the time, he was on his way home from a Christmas cookout.

So far no one has been charged in the incident and police are still looking for the men involved. But Darrell’s mother, Bridget Brackett, has already filed a lawsuit.

School Sued Over Yoga Classes

Parents in the Encinitas School District threatened that the school might be sued over yoga classes, but now they’re putting that threat into action.

At least, one set of parents is doing that. Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock have sued the district over the yoga classes it offers to elementary students as part of physical education. They claim the classes violate the right to religious freedom.

But the school district doesn’t agree with the Sedlock’s assessment. It claims the yoga classes never included religion to begin with; they’re just exercise. Will that be enough in court?

Strip Club to Pay $10.5M for Monster Truck Death

Mix a strip club, a drunken patron, and a horrific monster truck accident, and you get a $10.5 million jury award.

The family of a woman received the award after a fatal accident in the parking lot of the Spearmint Rhino strip club in Dallas. The driver of a monster truck ran over 23-year-old Kasey McKenzie in March 2011.

McKenzie's family sued the strip club under Texas' dram shop law, and accused the club of serving way too much alcohol to the driver of the truck, reports NBC News.

Carnival Cruise Lawsuit Seeks Class Action Status

Passengers stranded for days on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship are taking their complaints to court. Now it appears a class action lawsuit is on the horizon.

Those aboard Carnival's "Triumph" cruiseliner didn't get the vacation they were expecting. They were stuck on the high seas without electricity or running water for five days after a fire knocked out the ship's power.

It's not surprising that passengers are suing over their ordeal, especially since Carnival appears to be offering a credit for a future cruise instead of a refund. But the possibility of a class action could change things.

ID Theft Claimed 12M Victims in 2012: Report

A new identity theft report shows many Americans have been victimized, but also suggests certain forms of ID theft may be more dangerous or prevalent than others.

The industry-sponsored study found that 12.6 million Americans were ID theft victims in 2012. That's about 1 million more than in 2011, NBC News reports.

There are many kinds of identity theft and lots of ways to deal with it. But it helps to know what kinds of issues are most likely to cause significant problems. For example:

Can Christopher Dorner's Victims Sue His Estate?

After a manhunt that lasted over a week, Christopher Dorner has now been confirmed dead, reports The New York Times.

Dorner, a former LAPD officer, is believed to have killed four people earlier this month. His killing spree was allegedly the product of a vendetta he had against the LAPD, according to a manifesto he posted online.

With Dorner now dead, there are many questions left unanswered. One critical legal question is whether the victims and their families can sue Dorner's estate for wrongful death.

How Do Damage Caps Work?

How do damage caps work?

Personal injury damage awards can rise to the millions. That's where the whole concept of the ambulance-chasing attorney comes from. It's the idea that you can become a millionaire overnight for tripping on someone's driveway.

Well, that might be a stretch. But nevertheless, some believe that lawsuits are a get-rich-quick scheme. As a result of this and general public policy, legislators in many states have enacted damages caps.

Do Cruise Ships Have a Passenger's Bill of Rights?

The phrase "passenger bill of rights" often gets thrown around when air travelers are stuck on the tarmac for hours. But cruise ship passengers can get stuck on the open ocean, as a recent Carnival Cruise Lines mishap shows, Reuters reports. Don't cruise passengers have rights too?

The short answer is yes, but just what are those rights? That can get complicated.

At the very least, a cruise ship has a duty to provide reasonable care to its passengers. You probably also have additional protections, if you know where to look.

Family Wins $63M in Children's Motrin Lawsuit

A Massachusetts family has been awarded $63 million from Johnson & Johnson after a young girl suffered severe side effects, including blindness, from taking Children's Motrin.

With interest, the family of Samantha Reckis stands to take in a total of $109 million as the injury happened a decade ago, reports The Associated Press.

At the time of the incident in 2003, Reckis was 7 years old. After she took Children's Motrin to relieve a fever, she suffered a side effect known as toxic epidermal necrolysis and lost 90% of her skin. The drug was also blamed for causing blindness.

7 Signs a Used Car Is Flood-Damaged

There were a lot of cars damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Now these flood damaged cars are starting to hit the used car market.

With a little bit of cleaning and cosmetic work, you can make even the most flood-damaged car appear OK. It might even drive fine for a bit, before ultimately succumbing to its damage.

As a result, if you are not careful when purchasing a used car, you could look forward to weeks of auto repairs and thousands of dollars in bills. Here are seven signs that a used car is flood-damaged:

Sue the Government Over Potholes, Salt Damage?

Winter brings many special joys: ice, snow, salt damage to your car, and plenty of potholes. But what are you going to do about it -- sue the government?

Well, actually, that's not such a ridiculous idea. After all, they're the ones in charge of the roads. There's no one else to hold accountable for the potential dangers of a poorly paved and pothole-laden highway.

The catch is that you can't just file a lawsuit against the government whenever you feel like it. In general, there's a particular process you have to follow.

4 Injured in Mardi Gras Shooting: Can They Sue?

It's been a big month for the Big Easy, between the Superbowl and this year's Mardi Gras celebrations. But a Mardi Gras shooting in New Orleans on Saturday could lead to some big lawsuits down the line.

The city's famous French Quarter was packed Saturday for the last weekend of parties before Mardi Gras when shots were fired outside a Bourbon Street nightclub.

Four people were wounded, and police are currently searching for suspects. But will that help the people who were injured?

Preventable Mistakes Still Happen in Surgery

Horror stories about scalpels and sponges sewed up inside patients after surgery aren't just myths. It turns out preventable mistakes like that do happen, more often than you may realize.

Surgeons are human after all, and things can go wrong during surgical procedures. But some mistakes are so big that they're known as "never events" in the medical community. Those are things that never happen for a legitimate reason.

Perhaps "never events" is a misnomer. A study by Johns Hopkins University indicates that many types of surgical mistakes happen, at a rate of about 10 per week.

LAPD Manhunt: 2 Innocent Women Shot by Officers

Los Angeles police are on the hunt for a cop killer. While the suspect, ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, remains at large, two innocent women are in the hospital after being "mistakenly" shot by LAPD officers taking part in the manhunt.

"Tragically, we believe this was a case of mistaken identity by the officers," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told reporters Thursday, according to CBS News.

The women -- Maggie Carranza, 47, and her mother Emma Hernandez, 71 -- were delivering newspapers about 5 a.m. Thursday when officers opened fire on their pickup truck. The women's lawyer said police gave "no warning... no orders. No commands. Just gunshots."

Can they sue the LAPD for their injuries?

Conspiracy Theorists Harassing CO Shooting Victims

Some victims of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting are unfortunately being victimized again. This time they're being targeted by conspiracy theorists who've allegedly been harassing the victims for a variety of inane reasons.

In fact, things have gotten so bad that some victims are concerned for their health and safety, according to prosecutors.

So how bad was it? It's claimed that conspiracy theorists have posted maps, addresses, and phone numbers of victims online. People have even impersonated the victims and filed fraudulent court motions, The Associated Press reports.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Falls Victim to Identity Theft

The self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America," Joe Arpaio, has fallen victim to identity theft in the form of credit card fraud.

The outspoken sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix, said that his credit card information was stolen and used to purchase $291 worth of groceries in Chicago, reports Reuters. Arpaio hasn't visited the Windy City in years.

Arpaio has gained fame (and come under fire) for hard-line tactics against illegal immigrants and suspected criminals -- as well as for other stunts like alleging President Obama's birth certificate was "forged."

Perhaps he should have focused his energies on preventing identity theft instead?

What Is Malicious Prosecution?

What is malicious prosecution? It's an action for damages brought by someone who has been the subject of an unfair prosecution.

For that prosecution to be unfair, it has to have been commenced without probable cause and for a purpose other than bringing the alleged offender to justice. In other words, the charges or allegations must have been baseless.

While this may sound simple enough, malicious prosecution can actually be quite difficult to prove in court.

Tug-of-War at School: Teens' Fingers Severed

We all know tug-of-war games can get aggressive, but two students actually severed their fingers in a tug-of-war match at school.

The friendly game turned gruesome for two teens at California's South El Monte High School, where the tug-of-war was part of "spirit week" festivities.

About 40 students were participating in the game during lunch time Monday, Los Angeles' KTLA-TV reports. The rope snapped, and two students had their fingers severed.

Truck Accidents: 3 Potential Ways to Sue

Accidents happen, but when the crash involves a truck, there can be significantly more damage.

Not only can a civil lawsuit help cover your medical bills, but your insurance company may require that you try get the other party to pay before your benefits will kick in. If the other party resists, a lawsuit may be your only option.

But suing a truck driver for causing an accident isn't always the same, or as simple, as suing the driver of a car. There can potentially be more ways to win, and more parties to hold accountable.

5 Ways to Prove Emotional Distress

Emotional distress may be one of the most difficult injuries to prove. Unlike a broken arm or leg, there are no X-rays someone can point to, or even a scar you can display to prove your injuries.

Instead, emotional distress is largely psychological. And while the suffering can be as great, if not greater, than physical injuries, plaintiffs can have a hard time proving to a court they are entitled to damages given the difficulty of proof.

For those considering or pursuing a claim for emotional distress, here are five ways you may be able to prove your claim:

Frozen Pizza Can Cause Cancer, $5M Suit Claims

Step away from the frozen pizza if you want to avoid cancer. That's what California mom Katie Simpson would say if she were in your kitchen right now. She filed a lawsuit to that effect earlier this month.

It's not that Simpson hates all junk food. She has a particular problem with frozen pizza. Specifically, she's upset with Nestle and its California Pizza Kitchen brand of frozen pies.

The company also makes Stouffer's and DiGiorno's, and all of them are big problems in Simpson's book. She's suing them over their trans-fat content.