Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

March 2013 Archives

Disabled Man Stuck on Disneyland Ride Wins $8K

A quadriplegic man stuck on Disneyland's "It's a Small World" ride for about 30 minutes has been awarded $8,000 by a federal judge.

Jose Martinez and his wife sued Disney after the incident. They claimed Disney should have known that the ride posed a unique risk of harm to disabled persons, reports the Orange County Register.

Disney should have been on notice about the faulty ride, given that it had broken down twice earlier that same day in 2009, the couple alleged. Martinez, who is wheelchair-bound, was stuck on the ride as it went through the cave ironically called the "goodbye room."

TSA Agent, Goofing Off, Pepper-Sprays Co-workers

A TSA agent allegedly goofing off on the job accidentally pepper-sprayed his co-workers at New York's JFK airport.

In total, six TSA agents had to be taken to a hospital for treatment. No passengers were hurt.

TSA agent Chris Yves Dabel was "playing around" with a pepper-spray container -- which he apparently thought was a laser pointer -- when it fired off liquid at five fellow TSA agents, reports the New York Post.

6 Workers Sue Over Kansas City Gas Explosion

A gas explosion lawsuit has been filed on behalf of six employees hurt in a blast that leveled a Kansas City restaurant last month.

The lawsuit was filed against Missouri Gas Energy and four other companies connected to a cable installation project that is believed to have caused a natural gas line to rupture, reports The Kansas City Star.

The blast at JJ's Restaurant injured the six plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Another employee, restaurant server Megan Cramer, was killed in the explosion.

When Do Therapists Have to Disclose Threats?

When does doctor-patient confidentiality end and public protection begin? Or more specifically, do psychiatrists and therapists have a duty to disclose patient information if a patient poses a threat?

Let's talk a bit about what "privileged communications" are. They're discussions between two individuals that are supposed to be kept confidential. State laws generally recognize a doctor-patient privilege, and some extend it to psychotherapists as well.

There are limits to this privilege, however. One of these limits is when the patient says things that could pose a physical threat to another.

Falling Airport Sign Kills Boy, Injures Others

A 10-year-old boy was killed at an Alabama airport when an airport sign fell on top of him. The sign also injured several family members.

Luke Bresette was killed in the tragic accident at the Birmingham International Airport. Two other children are still being treated, and his mother is listed in critical condition, reports Fox News.

Witnesses say that a flight information sign weighing at least 300 pounds fell on top of the family. Several passersby helped to lift the sign off the family, but it was too late to save Luke. Airport officials are still not sure how the sign fell.

Unwanted Facebook Photo: Invasion of Privacy?

If someone takes a picture of you and posts it on Facebook without your permission, is that technically an invasion of privacy?

Imagine you're at a party and someone posts a photo of you drinking or making a rude gesture. Or what's also pretty common, imagine you and your ex break up, but your ex refuses to remove embarrassing photos of the two of you.

Photos shared on social media can simply be a nuisance. But in some cases, they could lead to a lawsuit that the photo-sharer definitely won't "like."

Disabled Woman's United Airlines Suit Revived

A disabled woman will get a second shot at suing United Airlines over alleged mistreatment during two cross-country flights.

But not all of Michelle Gilstrap's claims have been reinstated by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Notably, the court held that she cannot pursue her claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Reuters reports.

Here are the facts of the case: Gilstrap, who has a collapsed disc and osteoarthritis claimed that she was not given a wheelchair at the airport when she asked for one, and that she was forced to stand in line, which she couldn't do. So she sued for damages based on her alleged mistreatment.

Legal How-To: Writing an Online Takedown Notice

If something you created somehow shows up on someone else's website, you may want to know how to send an Internet takedown notice.

As you may know, the Internet may appear to be a free-for-all where many users simply steal another person's work. However, there are laws that protect your copyrighted work on the Internet, as well as personal material like pictures of you on vacation.

Basically, you can notify infringing users of their unlawful use of your material and send them a takedown notice. Users who fail to remove infringing materials could face legal liability.

7 Marines Killed in Explosion at Training Site

Seven U.S. Marines were killed in an explosion during a training exercise. Seven others were hurt.

The explosion happened at the Hawthorne Army Depot in western Nevada, reports Reuters. The cause of the explosion, which occurred about 10 p.m. Monday, remains unclear.

Investigators are still reviewing whether the proper safety protocols were followed. Regardless, the military could potentially be liable for these death and injuries.

What Are Dram Shop Laws?

Most states have some sort of dram shop law that allows victims of drunken driving accidents to hold a drinking establishment responsible for their injuries.

The basis for dram shop laws is that bars should bear some responsibility when they knowingly serve alcohol to someone obviously intoxicated, and then send that person on his way.

As a result, injury victims or their family members may be able to seek monetary damages against these establishments in personal injury lawsuits.

Gun Range Workers Sue Over Lead Exposure

Workers at a gun range in Washington state are suing their employer over allegedly harmful lead exposure.

A lot of rounds are shot off at gun ranges. But you may have wondered what happens to all those spent bullets and shell casings which are often made of lead.

Some workers at Wade's Eastside Guns in Bellevue say they dug large holes at the gun range to bury the spent bullets and lead. When it rained, the workers claim to have been exposed to toxins, Seattle's KING-TV reports.

Legal How-To: Filing a Minor Car Accident Claim

You've been injured in a minor car accident. Do you know how to collect the damages you are entitled to by filing a car accident claim?

For catastrophic and serious car accidents, the steps to collect may be simple: Just call a lawyer. However, for minor fender benders, getting the assistance of an attorney may not be practical.

Can You Sue for False Imprisonment?

If you’ve been held against your will by a police officer or security guard, you may be wondering whether you can sue for false imprisonment.

False imprisonment generally means that someone is unlawfully restrained against her will by someone without legal authority, consent, or other justification. False imprisonment can be both a crime and a civil wrong.

In a civil case, a person claiming false imprisonment typically seeks to recover damages for the interference with her right to move freely.

Prisoner Gets $15.5M for 22 Months in Solitary

Is there any real way to make someone whole after time in the hole? Stephen Slevin spent 22 months in solitary confinement and was awarded $22 million by a jury for his ordeal.

Lawyers for Dona Ana County in New Mexico, where the incident took place, appealed the award. But in the end, Slevin walked away with $15.5 million.

But is that really enough to compensate him for what he endured?

6 Teens Killed in Ohio Crash

Six teens were killed in a crash in Ohio early Sunday, while two others in the SUV were able to escape. None of the teens had permission to use the vehicle, authorities said.

The eight teens had squeezed into a Honda Passport that was made to seat five, CNN reports. The 19-year-old driver lost control on a two-lane road near Warren, Ohio, and the SUV flipped over into a pond. The driver and five others, ages 14 to 17, were killed.

A state trooper said the vehicle was speeding at the time of the crash, though investigators have not yet determined what caused the accident. But if the two survivors, or relatives of the victims, decide to sue over the crash, the alleged lack of permission to use the car may be a critical factor.

1st J&J DePuy Hip Implant Award: $8.3M

The first Johnson & Johnson DePuy hip implant lawsuit to go to trial has resulted in an $8.3 million jury award for one man's injuries.

This could be the first of many large jury awards, as more than 10,000 similar lawsuits have been filed nationwide, Bloomberg reports. Analysts say that means J&J may end up having to shell out billions of dollars.

The lawsuits allege that J&J's DePuy unit defectively designed its ASR metal hip implants, which caused painful injuries to thousands of recipients. The $8.3 million award will go to one of those hip implant recipients, Loren "Bill" Kransky.

7 Tips to Prepare for Your Injury Lawsuit

There are lots of reasons to file an injury lawsuit -- a car accident, a slip and fall, an intentional assault -- but before you file the paperwork, you need to prepare.

A lawsuit generally means a hearing, and to win in court you need to have evidence to prove your case. If all you have is your word against the defendant's, then there's a good chance the outcome won't go in your favor.

Some evidence you can collect later, but some of it should be dealt with right away. So what kind of evidence are you going to need, and what will be most helpful to your case? Check out these seven tips:

Coach Dies in Freak Bike Accident at School

A popular track and field coach at a California high school died in a freak accident. Can anyone be held liable?

Marion Adams was riding his bicycle after track practice at Rio Linda High School near Sacramento early Tuesday when he looked over his shoulder to say goodbye to a student, reports The Sacramento Bee.

By turning, the coach apparently failed to see a partially open metal swing gate in the school parking lot, and was impaled by the gate arm.

The 10 Worst States for Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released a report showing the worst states for identity theft in the past year.

States were ranked by complaints per 100,000 population. For the third year in a row, Florida topped the list; the more heavily populated states generally appeared to experience higher rates of identity theft.

States with smaller populations like the Dakotas and Hawaii comprised the states least affected by identity theft, perhaps signaling that ID thieves don't find it worthwhile to target individuals outside major markets.

Here are the 10 states with the highest rates of identity theft:

3 Potential Ways to Sue Over a Sinkhole

Jeff Bush was asleep in his Florida home when a giant sinkhole opened under his bedroom. The 37-year-old man is presumed dead in this very unfortunate accident, Reuters reports. But can anyone sue over this sinkhole? Or was it simply a freak accident for which no one is to blame?

It doesn't happen often, but sinkholes have been known to form and cause massive damage. This is especially true in parts of Florida. (In fact, another sinkhole has now opened up just two miles from Bush's home, Tampa's WTSP-TV reports.)

When sinkholes form, property owners and injured victims can potentially file lawsuits under several theories of liability. Depending on the circumstances, these can include:

Can Bullied Boy's Family Sue Over His Death?

A 12-year-old victim of bullying has died after his family took him off life support. Could the bullied boy's family potentially sue his alleged attackers, or possibly even the school, for his death?

So far, the perpetrators who allegedly bullied and beat sixth grader Bailey O'Neill of Pennsylvania have not faced any criminal charges. And given their ages, they may be able to avoid criminal penalties completely.

However, O'Neill's family may still seek some redress for their tragic loss by seeking civil penalties against the bullies.

Budweiser Sued Over Allegedly Watered-Down Beer

Perhaps it's no big surprise to many beer lovers, but Budweiser is being sued for allegedly watering down its beer.

In a class action lawsuit, consumers across the United States accuse Anheuser-Busch of watering down its Budweiser, Michelob, and other beer brands, reports NBC News.

The lawsuit says that consumers have been cheated out of the alcohol content printed on labels. Budweiser and Michelob supposedly contain 5% alcohol, while "light" versions of their beer are supposed to contain about 4%.

Is Landlord Liable for Criminal Activity?

When there’s criminal activity in your apartment building, who do you call? Well, first you’d call the police but then you might want to call your landlord.

Sure, your landlord probably doesn’t live in the building and wasn’t involved in the crime. But it’s still his responsibility.

Would your landlord be charged with a crime if there was a break in or robbery in your rented home? Probably not, unless your landlord is the robber. But you could file a civil lawsuit. What exactly would you sue for? The answer is negligence.