Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

July 2013 Archives

Daniel Chong, Forgotten in DEA Cell, to Get $4M

A California college student who was locked in a holding cell for five days on the brink of death has settled his lawsuit against the DEA for $4.1 million.

University of California San Diego student Daniel Chong, now 25, was arrested during a raid by the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2012. Though he was never charged, agents left him handcuffed in a windowless holding cell, where he was forced to drink his own urine to survive, reports CNN.

The DEA's neglect toward Chong could have resulted in a jury award for a far greater amount.

No Immunity for BART Cops in Oscar Grant Lawsuit

An Oscar Grant lawsuit against ex-BART police officer Johannes Mehserle and two other officers can proceed, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. In a unanimous three-judge ruling, the court rejected attempts by the Bay Area Rapid Transit police officers to shield themselves from civil liability by asserting qualified immunity.

Mehserle shot and killed Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old, on the platform of BART's Fruitvale Station in Oakland in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2009.

Grant's father and five of Grant's friends sued in the aftermath of the highly-publicized incident, which inspired the recently released movie "Fruitvale Station," reports the San Jose Mercury News.

'Brain-Eating' Amoeba Scare Closes Water Park

A summertime swim took a turn for the sick after a visitor at an Arkansas water park contracted a potentially lethal form of amebic meningitis, a brain-eating parasite, causing the park to close.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) confirmed that a 12-year-old girl contracted primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), probably from swimming at the Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock, CNN reports.

Should parents now worry about their children being infected at a water park?

Hudson River Crash: Bodies of Bride, Best Man Found

In New York's Hudson River, two bodies have been found after a deadly speedboat crash on Friday night. Mark Lennon, 30, who was set to be the best man at an upcoming wedding, was killed along with bride-to-be Lindsay Stewart, also 30, reports Reuters.

Searchers found the bodies over the weekend. The speedboat had four others aboard -- the boat's driver and members of Stewart's wedding party -- when it crashed into a barge below the Tappan Zee Bridge in Piermont, New York.

Jojo John, the 35-year-old driver of the boat, is now being charged with one count of vehicular manslaughter and three counts of second-degree vehicular assault. Civil lawsuits will likely follow.

'Pepper-Spraying Cop' Wants Worker's Comp

The notorious pepper-spraying cop from a student "Occupy" protest in California is appealing for worker's compensation, claiming he suffered psychiatric injury from the 2011 confrontation.

John Pike, formerly with the University of California, Davis' police force, has a settlement conference set for August 13 in Sacramento, reports The Associated Press.

Pike was fired in July 2012, eight months after an investigation found that his action was unwarranted.

5 Reasons an Injury Lawyer Won't Take Your Case

When taking the steps to file a personal injury lawsuit, you may be taken aback when a personal injury lawyer won’t take your case.

If you’re rejected by one lawyer, don’t take it too personally. Attorneys regularly turn down cases for a variety of reasons. But if several lawyers turn you down, that may be a sign that your case isn’t as strong as you think it is.

Here are five reasons why an injury lawyer may not want to take your case:

Are Teen Drivers Liable for Car Accidents?

Teen drivers are not among the most careful or accident-averse drivers on the road. Statistically speaking, young drivers are more likely to get in an accident during their formative years behind the wheel.

But should those driving mistakes be paid for by the teen driver, the car's owner, or the teen's parents?

Here are a few scenarios to consider when it comes to teen driver liability for car accidents:

FDA Sunscreen Warning: Don't Get Burned

A new FDA sunscreen warning encourages you to be careful about wearing sunscreen spray near flames. Ironically, your sunscreen spray could get you seriously burned.

The Food and Drug Administration issued the warning after five people suffered significant burns that required medical treatment, according to the notice.

The sunscreen spray burns occurred from lighting a cigarette, standing too close to a lit citronella candle, approaching a grill, and in one case, doing some welding.

Falling TVs Injure 1 Child Every 30 Mins: Study

A falling TV causes an injury to a child once every 30 minutes on average, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.

In 2011 alone, televisions falling on children caused about 17,000 injuries that were serious enough to result in a hospital visit.

A few cases even resulted in fatalities.

Six Flags Death: Woman Falls From Coaster

A fun day at Six Flags turned tragic Friday when a Dallas woman died after falling from a 14-story roller coaster.

Rosy Esparza, fell from a roller coaster car at Six Flags Over Texas while riding the "Texas Giant" coaster, a 23-year-old ride originally promoted as the "tallest wooden roller coaster in the world," reports Reuters.

While details of Esparza's fatal fall have yet to emerge, the Esparza family can potentially sue the park for wrongful death.

Girl, 11, Electrocuted in Swimming Pool

An 11-year-old girl was fatally electrocuted in a swimming pool when she was practicing with her team at a local swim club. Authorities are investigating what caused the accident.

Lauren Cecil of Lexington, North Carolina, was swimming with two other girls when a power line snapped and fell to the ground at the swim club Tuesday night, sending an electric current into the water, reports WGHP-TV. Lauren was electrocuted just as she tried to get out of the pool.

While you may be tempted to call this a "freak accident," it's important to realize that swimming electrocutions happen more often than you may think.

Heat Wave Injuries, Illnesses: Who's Liable?

A heat wave has much of the country sweltering this week. That may be great for tomatoes and ice cream vendors, but excessive heat can also cause injuries and illness when temperatures rise to dangerous levels.

In many states, the mercury has risen into the high 90s for three or more consecutive days, presenting a "dangerous" situation for many people, The Weather Channel reports. Across the country, hundreds have been treated at hospitals for heat-related conditions.

So when injuries occur from these long, hot spells, can anyone be held liable?

83 Asiana Passengers to Sue Boeing Over Crash

In the wake of the Asiana Airlines crash, 83 passengers are taking steps to sue Boeing, the plane's manufacturer, alleging a mechanical defect caused the disaster.

The passengers filed a petition in Chicago on Monday, marking the start of a long legal battle that will seek compensation for those injured in the July 6 crash at San Francisco International Airport, reports the Los Angeles Times.

What theories do these passengers offer for Boeing's fault, and will they be able to recover?

Man Shot 16 Times by Officers Files $20M Claim

An innocent, unarmed man who was shot 16 times by officers in Washington state is seeking $20 million for his injuries, from which he'll likely never fully recover.

Dustin Theoharis, 30, was lying in bed in his basement apartment when two officers -- a King County sheriff's deputy and a state Department of Corrections officer -- stormed in while pursuing a suspect. In a moment of confusion, they opened fire and shot Theoharis 16 times.

Theoharis has undergone a dozen surgeries, and will be receiving a $3 million payout from King County, Seattle's KING-TV reports. But now he wants the Department of Corrections to pay up too.

Beauty Queen to Sue NYPD for $210M

In a decidedly not pageant-like or graceful turn of events, a New York beauty queen is planning to sue the NYPD for $210 million over alleged police humiliation.

Miss Westchester Kristy Abreu, 19, told reporters last week that New York City police officers mistakenly "hauled her off to jail" after a computer glitch caused her car to come up as stolen, reports New York's WCBS-TV.

What kind of humiliation could amount to almost a quarter-billion-dollar claim for this beauty queen?

How to Sue an Airline Over Damage, Injury

After the devastating Asiana Airlines crash last weekend, many are now probably wondering: How do you sue an airline?

Fortunately, most legal claims against airlines do not involve horrific plane crashes or tragic deaths. They're typically over more common, but still stressful and annoying situations like lost luggage, customer service issues, and problems that arise from delayed or missed flights.

So how do you take legal action against an airline? Each passenger's situation is different, but here are some general pointers:

Can Canada Train Explosion Victims Sue in U.S.?

As the death toll from last weekend's Canada train explosion is expected to rise, the American company that owns the railway could soon face dozens of lawsuits.

A runaway 73-car train, which included tank cars carrying petroleum, exploded in the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Saturday. As many as 50 people may have been killed, leading some to call the railway company's chairman a "murderer," Reuters reports.

The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, which owned the train that blew up, is actually based in the United States. That means the Canadian victims could potentially sue the company in U.S. courts.

County Fair Sued Over E. Coli Petting-Zoo Death

A toddler's death from E. coli has led to a lawsuit claiming he, and hundreds of others, were sickened by a deadly strain of the bacteria at a North Carolina fair's petting zoo.

E. coli O157:H7 kills approximately 60 people each year, according to the CDC. Parents Joshua and Jessica LeFevers believe their son Hunter contracted his fatal infection due to the unsanitary conditions at the Cleveland County Fair in 2012, reports ABC News.

What potential liability could the fair face, and how can you avoid contracting deadly infections from animals?

Man Urinates, Gets Electrocuted in Subway Tunnel

An intoxicated man was fatally electrocuted in a New York City subway station when he urinated on the electrified third rail in Brooklyn.

Matthew Zeno, 30, was walking with a friend along the tracks of the southbound G train about 3:10 a.m. Monday when the horrific accident occurred.

Can anyone be held liable for Zeno's death?

After Asiana Airlines Crash, Lawsuits Likely

Passengers on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 became victims of a fiery aviation accident Saturday when their jetliner crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport. Two passengers were killed, and others were seriously hurt.

Although the crash is still under investigation, a possible cause of the deadly accident was pilot error, as the man piloting Flight 214 at the time was still in training with the newer Boeing 777 jet, reports Reuters.

Whatever the cause, there will likely be dozens of lawsuits to compensate victims of the accident, along with the relatives of those who died.

Man Beaten by Security Guard Wins $58M

A California jury has awarded Antonio Lopez Chaj $58 million after a brutal beating by a security guard. The attack left him with injuries so severe that a portion of his skull and brain had to be removed.

With his left brain damaged and deformed, Chaj cannot speak, needs help to walk and needs 24-hour care as a result of the beating that happened three years ago in a Los Angeles-area bar, his attorneys say.

After hearing evidence about the horrific April 2010 beating, a jury in Torrance awarded the 43-year-old immigrant house painter the staggering award in economic and medical losses.

Fourth of July Accident: Fireworks Injure 28

A Fourth of July accident sent 28 people to the hospital when the planned fireworks display detonated on the ground.

The explosion occurred about 9:30 p.m. at a park in Simi Valley, California. Witnesses recounted that "bits and pieces of the fireworks rained down on the people who were in the front," reports Los Angeles' KABC-TV.

Fireworks injuries are common, but not usually of this magnitude. As a result, the fireworks show's coordinators could be facing major liability if the injured spectators decide to sue.

Pet Sitting Unleashes Potential Liability

Pet sitting may sound like the "purr-fect" way to combine your love of animals with your need to make some scratch cash. But on the other paw, you may want to think about potential liability issues that can come back to bite you.

For example, just because you're not the pet's owner doesn't necessarily mean that you aren't responsible if something goes wrong. And if you are the owner, pet sitting can still unleash some unwanted legal consequences.

Here are a few scenarios you'll want to keep in mind:

Don't Get Burned by Fireworks This 4th of July

Fireworks injuries are no joke. They happen fairly often, too, especially on and around the Fourth of July.

The truth is, as exciting and fun as fireworks are, they can lead to serious consequences if not used properly or carefully.

So this year, have your fun, but remember to stay safe. To help you prepare, here are a few types of fireworks injuries that have happened to others -- and that you will definitely want to avoid:

Cirque du Soleil Accident: Performer Dies on Stage

A performer died after a Cirque du Soleil accident during a show in Las Vegas, authorities and the company said Sunday.

Sarah Guillot Guyard, 31, a member of the cast of the "KA" show at the MGM Grand, was pronounced dead shortly before midnight Saturday, according to the Clark County Coroner's office. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Guyard, a mother of two who spent more than 22 years as an aerial artist, performed as "Sassoon" in the show, which involves aerial acrobatics. She had been part of the cast of "KA" since 2006, Reuters reports.