Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

August 2014 Archives

Bus Accident at Burning Man Claims Woman's Life

A woman attending this year's Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert has reportedly been killed in a bus accident.

The woman, who has not been identified pending notification of her next of kin, fell under a bus carrying festival attendees, reports the Burning Man Blog.

What are some of the legal options the woman's family may have following this tragic incident?

Lifeguards and Liability: 3 Things Swimmers Should Know

Lifeguards may seem like towering figures with their tall posts and zinced noses, but they can be liable for swimming injuries and deaths when they make mistakes.

For this reason, lifeguards are required to be certified and trained to deal with common emergencies that occur in and around pools. Different states' safety standards are not always identical, but they form a general patchwork of legal liability for when lifeguards falter in their duties.

For swimmers, here are three things you should know about lifeguard liability:

Ariz. Gun Range Death: Who's Liable?

Law enforcement authorities have stated that no one will be charged criminally in the fatal shooting of an Arizona gun range instructor killed when a nine-year-old girl lost control of the fully automatic Uzi submachine gun she was firing, reports ABC News.

But accidents that cause death, even ones that don't involve criminal conduct, often result in wrongful death lawsuits or other civil litigation.

Who, if anyone, might be liable for this tragic accident?

Man Sues McDonald's Over OJ With a Surprise Spear

McDonald's patron Klaus Geier is suing the fast food giant after an incident in which his OJ allegedly came with an unexpected surprise -- a plastic spear which lodged itself in his throat.

According to TMZ, when Geier tried to extract the foreign object from his mouth, a serrated spear deployed and fired itself into his esophagus. This may sound like a bad horror movie, but to Geier the nightmare is real. After finally wrenching the spear and its casing from his throat, Geier asserts he suffered severe throat injury.

Could this OJ suit be the next McDonald's hot coffee case?

Man Arrested, Strip Searched for Photographing Cops Gets $125K

A man who was arrested and strip searched after taking photographs of New York City Police Department officers has reached a $125,000 settlement with the city.

Dick George filed a federal lawsuit against the city for police misconduct after being arrested for disorderly conduct in 2012, reports the New York Daily News. According to the lawsuit, George was arrested for documenting the officers' "stop-and-frisk" search of three youths.

Why was George's arrest likely a violation of his civil rights?

Frat House Accident: Girl Impaled in Neck by Golf Club

In a frat house accident last week, an 18-year-old girl was impaled in the neck by a broken golf club.

Natalie Jo Eaton, a student at Arkansas State University, was hospitalized after "rush" activities at the Kappa Alpha frat house. According to Little Rock's KARK-TV, students were using the golf club as a bat to hit a tossed football when the shaft broke, sending the broken end sailing 30 feet before it lodged itself in Eaton's neck.

How serious were Eaton's injuries, and who might be held legally responsible?

Can a 'Surprise' Ice Bucket Challenge Get You Sued?

The "Ice Bucket Challenge," ostensibly a way to raise awareness and funds for treatment of the disease ALS, has taken on a life of its own.

The challenge -- which involves having a bucket of ice-cold water poured over your head on video, then challenging others to do the same -- has been performed by celebrities, star athletes, and even former presidents, helping it become a viral sensation online. But as its popularity has increased, so too have the number of less-noble versions of the challenge, in which unsuspecting individuals are "challenged" with little or no notice, such as this video of "Top Gear" host Jeremy Clarkson getting surprised by a bucket of ice after being woken from a nap. While these surprise cold-water dousings may make great fodder for online videos, they may make also make great fodder for lawsuits.

What can go wrong if you drop a surprise ice bucket challenge on someone?

Care.com Nanny Service Sued Over Infant's Wrongful Death

Nanny service company Care.com has been sued by the parents of a 3-month-old child who died under a babysitter's watch.

Nathan and Reggan Koopmeiners of Kenosha, Wisconsin, have filed wrongful death suits against Care.com and Sarah Gumm, 35, who is set to stand trial for their baby Rylan's death, reports the Chicago Tribune. The suit alleges that Gumm had prior criminal run-ins that Care.com failed to disclose to the parents, despite the couple paying an additional fee for a "premier background check" on a potential nanny.

Are Care.com and Gumm really liable for the Rylan Koopmeiner's death?

Sober Driver Sues Over False DUI Arrest, Alleging Lies, Cover-up

A woman who was seriously injured and falsely accused of drunken driving after a sheriff's deputy crashed into her car has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the deputy, the sheriff, and three other members of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department.

Tanya Weyker's lawsuit alleges that even after authorities obtained video footage from a nearby surveillance camera that showed the sheriff's deputy was at fault, the department continued to push for criminal charges against Weyker, reports the Journal Sentinel. Weyker, 25, suffered a broken neck in the accident, and was cleared of all charges in late 2013.

What does Weyker allege that the sheriff's department officers did wrong?

Want to Sue a Home Contractor? 3 Things to Consider

Few things are as frustrating as a dispute with home contractor. If you're dealing with such a dispute, should you file a lawsuit?

Whether it's shoddy construction work, protracted delays, or a disagreement over money that is causing problems, sometimes a lawsuit may seem like the only way to get what you feel you bargained for when you hired your home contractor.

But if you're considering a lawsuit against a home contractor, here are three things you may want to consider:

Mom Seeks $1M for Toddler's Kiddie Ride Brain Injury

A Virginia woman has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the operators of a Maryland amusement park after one of the park's rides allegedly left her son with a serious brain injury.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court last month, Raffinee McNeill asserts her then-2-year-old son suffered a fractured skull in 2012 at Trimper's Rides and Amusements, a historic amusement park in Ocean City, Maryland. McNeill claims her son has lingering health issues as a result of the accident, and has continued to incur significant medical expenses, reports The Baltimore Sun.

What does McNeill claim happened to her son, and what will she need to prove to prevail in court?

Beauty Queen Injured by Charging Bull Sues Again

A former Nebraska beauty queen is still fighting in court after being thrown into the air by a charging bull at a county fair in 2010.

Jessica Littlejohn claims the Scotts Bluff County Fair was negligent in failing to restrain or secure the bull, which broke loose and charged her. The former pageant queen allegedly suffered a brain and closed head injury as well as "personal, psychological, and emotional injuries," reports the Scottsbluff Star Herald.

Her original suit against the County Fair had some hiccups, but how does Littlejohn's bull case look now?

Do 'Beware of Dog' Signs Legally Protect Dog Owners From Lawsuits?

If you’re worried about your dog’s potential to bite someone, can hanging a “Beware of Dog” sign on your property offer any sort of legal protection in the event of a dog bite lawsuit?

Although in limited situations a “Beware of Dog” sign may actually help a litigious victim (by allegedly showing you knew of your dog’s vicious propensities), in general, warning passersby, guests, and even potential trespassers about the presence of a dog that may attack may actually be of help to you in defending yourself from a dog bite suit.

What are the possible legal ramifications of a “Beware of Dog” sign? Here’s a general overview:

Can the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' Lead to Injury?

The “Ice Bucket Challenge” is the newest viral stunt to hit the Internet, but despite its altruistic goals, it can potentially do more harm than good.

Viral challenges like this one all have a similar formula: Someone challenges you via social media to perform a stunt, you record video of yourself doing the challenge, and then you challenge three more people to follow suit. As Chicago’s WBBM-TV reports, the “Ice Bucket Challenge” involves dumping ice water over your head and donating either $10 or $100 to research for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The ALS Association has garnered more than $9 million in “Ice Bucket Challenge” donations so far.

But can an “Ice Bucket Challenge” lead to a real injury?

Chemical-Laced Tea Burns Utah Grandmother: Who May Be Liable?

A Utah woman is fighting for her life after drinking sweet tea contaminated with a toxic cleaning solvent.

The 67-year-old woman was eating lunch at a Dickey's Barbecue restaurant near Salt Lake City, and filled her cup with sweet tea from a self-serve drinking fountain, reports The Associated Press. After taking one sip of the drink, she told her husband, "I think I just drank acid." She was taken to a local hospital where she remained in critical condition for four days after the incident.

What was the toxic substance, and how did it end up in this grandmother's tea?

Victim of a Hit and Run? 5 First Steps to Consider

You’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident. So what should you do?

Unfortunately, hit-and-run car accidents are all too common. Last week, a Minneapolis man was left in the middle of a downtown street with serious injuries after witnesses say a car appeared to deliberately hit him then speed away, the Star Tribune reported.

In the confusion following a hit-and-run crash, it’s easy to allow anger or confusion cloud your judgment. But having a plan can help. Here are five first steps to consider if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run:

Injured by Police? 10 Legal Reminders About Your Rights

It seems like every week opens with a new story about police misconduct and brutality, giving the public more and more reason worry about their civil rights.

Following the continuing violence and police presence in Ferguson, Missouri, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that a federal civil rights investigation is already underway and that law enforcement must act to "reduce tensions, not heighten them."

For civilians who have been injured by the police, here are 10 legal reminders on how to civilly defend your rights:

Injured at College House Party? Can You Sue?

College parties have certainly been known to occasionally get out of control.

A spring-break party near the University of California, Santa Barbara earlier this year turned ugly when a campus police officer tried to arrest a partygoer...but ended up with 44 injuries and more than 100 arrests, reports The Associated Press.

If you're injured at a college party, can you sue?

What Is a Court-Ordered Constructive Trust?

You've probably heard of trusts, which are legal instruments used primarily for estate planning. But have you ever heard of a constructive trust?

Unlike most other kinds of trusts, constructive trusts aren't drafted by a lawyer as part of an individual's estate plan or wealth management strategy. Instead, constructive trusts are imposed by a court in order to prevent unjust enrichment by someone who has wrongfully obtained an interest in another person's property by obligating them to return the property to its original owner.

What is a constructive trust and how does it work?

DirecTV Sued Over Sex Offender's Service Call

Satellite-TV provider DirecTV is being sued for allegedly bringing a registered sex offender into a customer's house during a service call.

Wahren Scott Massey has been a registered sex offender in Texas since 1998, but in 2012 he accompanied a DirecTV subcontractor into a customer's house during a service call. According to Dallas-Fort Worth's WFAA-TV, Massey was left in a room with the customer's 12-year-old daughter, who caught him snapping photos of her on his cell phone.

Massey was arrested, pleaded guilty to a pair of crimes, and is now in prison. So what liability is DirecTV potentially facing over this sex offender incident?

3 Ways Social Media Posts Can Sabotage Your Injury Claim

Social media can be a great tool for sharing your emotions to the world, but it can also end up sabotaging your injury claims.

Just last week, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson posted a photo of the car crash his mother and cousin survived on Instagram, along with a caption expressing his emotions about the incident. Although many of his words were heartfelt, Johnson did mention that his first reaction was to "find the person who did this and do unrelenting harm to them," reports The Huffington Post.

Will Johnson's angry Instagram aside prevent his relatives from quickly settling their case? That's yet to be seen, but here are three common ways social media posts like Johnson's can potentially sabotage an injury claim:

Can You Sue for Hazing Injuries?

Despite crackdowns by schools and state legislatures, college and high school students continue to get injured and even killed during hazing rituals.

Last month, a California State University, Northridge student died after being found by a park ranger shoeless and dehydrated in a nearby national forest. His family and friends believe that he was being hazed by members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity who had taken him and other fraternity pledges on the hike, reports the Los Angeles Times.

If you or your child is injured while being hazed by members of a fraternity, band, sports team, or other school organization, can you sue for your injuries?

Home Aide Can't Sue Over Injury by Alzheimer's Patient: Calif. Court

The California Supreme Court ruled this week that Alzheimer's patients aren't liable for injuries inflicted on in-home caregivers.

The Court found that the protection against liability that Alzheimer's patients already have in California against nursing home workers should also apply to suits by home aides. In both instances, according to the Court, the workers assume the risks inherent in their job duties and are thus barred from recovery for any injuries they suffer while performing their duties.

What were the facts of the case, and how does assumption of risk work?

How Are Settlements Paid?

So you've finally reached settlement in your case, but how do you get your money? Settlement payments can be made in a number of different ways: lump sum payments, installments, or even in loose change.

You may have seen the story this week of Andres Carrasco, 76, who was less than pleased to receive a $21,000 settlement -- all in coins -- from an insurance company he'd sued for assault. The Los Angeles Times reports that Carrasco had initially expected a check -- only to receive more than a dozen paint buckets filled with change.

So how exactly are settlements supposed to be paid?

Injured at School? Can You Sue?

If you've been injured at school, your first thought may be physical recovery. But your second or even third thought should be about your legal options.

You may be able to sue the person who caused your injury, along with school staff and maybe even the school district for the injuries you've incurred, but you'll probably need a bit of legal guidance.

Here's a basic legal primer on being injured at school and a few factors that may affect your potential legal claims:

How to Collect Video Evidence for Your Injury Case

Video evidence of your injury may be the smoking gun that wins your case. However, just because a video recording exists of your lawsuit-worthy incident doesn't necessarily mean that you'll always have access to it for your case.

Video recordings can be taken by cell phones, police dashcams, and even private businesses' security cameras. But you'll likely need legal help in order to get access to them.

Here's a brief rundown on how to collect video evidence for your injury case:

Injured on a Bus? 5 Legal Points to Consider

If you're injured on a bus, how much can you collect? For one California woman, the answer is $15.3 million. Maria Francisco's verdict against a public transit district was upheld last week by a state court.

Francisco fractured her spine when the AC Transit bus she was riding in went over a speed bump at 30 mph in a 15 mph zone. San Francisco's KPIX-TV reports that the bump caused Francisco to fly into the air and land hard back on the seat; importantly, the moment of impact -- and Francisco's injury -- was caught on bus surveillance video.

The verdict is the just latest in a slew of large damage awards in personal injury cases involving buses. If you're injured on a bus, here are five legal points to consider:

J&J Power Morcellators Pulled Amid Cancer Fears

Johnson & Johnson is pulling power morcellators used for performing hysterectomies, responding to concerns that the devices risk spreading cancer to healthy tissues.

Doctors had been warned against using the device by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April, but J&J is now asking surgeons not to use its power morcellating line of products. The Associated Press reports that the company is "conducting a worldwide withdrawal of all of its morcellators still on the market."

Noting that this is a withdrawal and not a recall, what future legal implications do these morcellators hold for J&J?

Another GM Recall Class-Action Lawsuit: What Happens Next?

Yet another GM recall class-action lawsuit has been filed in federal court, with more than 600 plaintiffs alleging injuries and deaths due to the car manufacturer's faulty ignition switches.

The suit was filed by a Corpus Christi, Texas-based law firm, based largely on crashes that occurred after GM's bout in bankruptcy court in 2009. Attorney Robert Hilliard told The Associated Press that this makes the suit exempt from GM's attempt to shield itself under bankruptcy law.

What should you know about this most recent class-action lawsuit, and what happens next?