Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

March 2015 Archives

We see people testify all the time on courtroom dramas, but not all testimony is given on the witness stand at trial. Before a trial ever takes place, lawyers from both sides are able to interview potential witnesses as part of the discovery process.

If you are required to give a deposition as part of a personal injury claim, here are some tips for how to testify at a deposition.

For many people, a work related injury doesn’t just mean pain and suffering. It means days of work will be missed, medical bills will pile up, or money will get tight. Most people will need their workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible.

So, how long will a workers’ compensation claim take? When will you start receiving money?

Today is National Doctor's Day, so we are turning our focus to what a medical malpractice case can be like from the doctor's perspective.

Being sued for any reason can be a scary prospect, but when it's a lawsuit regarding your professional performance, it can be doubly frightening. So here are a few legal and procedural elements doctors can expect when defending a medical malpractice claim.

With the prevalence of medical marijuana in the U.S. (23 states and counting), and with the variance of workers’ compensation coverage from state-to-state, it’s only natural to wonder whether your workers’ comp covers medical marijuana. With the nation’s pot laws seemingly changing by the day, it may be hard to keep track of what’s legal and what’s not.

We know we can’t go to work stoned, but can we treat a work injury with legal weed? Let’s take a look:

After a year of back and forth negotiations, countless doctor’s visits, and lots of pain and suffering, your lawyer got you a settlement award for your personal injury claim.

Congratulations! You now get to pocket that money and go on your merry way. But, wait just a second. The tax man would like to speak with you real quick. Part of that settlement you got might belong to him.

So, is your personal injury settlement award really taxable?

If you believe you've been injured or harmed because of a mistaken diagnosis or poor medical treatment, your initial decisions could shape any possible legal claims you may have.

The first steps in a medical malpractice case can be critical, so let's take a look at what you should do if you're thinking of filing a claim.

With Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we do not lack for forums to share all of our troubles and joys with the world. Got injured at work? Post it on Facebook or Twitter. The stream of well wishing comments and commiserations will make you feel better. Or will it?

People have been fired for discussing work online. Thirteen Virgin Atlantic crew members were fired for insulting passengers and criticizing the company’s sanitation and safety standards on Facebook. A California Pizza Kitchen server was fired for criticizing the company’s new uniforms on its corporate Twitter account. A young woman was fired for a twitter post before she even started working. Obviously, your actions on social media can get you in trouble at work.

So, should you think twice about discussing your workers’ compensation claim on Facebook?

If you've agreed to a settlement in your injury case, you may be wondering what happens if the other side doesn't live up to their end of the bargain. So how do you enforce a settlement agreement?

As it turns out, just expecting the other party to hold up their side of the deal might not be enough, and even requesting compliance in writing may not mean you'll get paid. So here are a couple considerations when it comes time to enforce a settlement agreement.

Workers’ compensation programs are state specific. Each state has a different set of rules and requirements and grants different benefits.

So, what are the best and worst states for workers’ compensation? It depends on what criteria you’re looking at.

Nobody wants a back injury. It hurts! But, when a back injury prevents you from being able to do your job, the pain can be felt in your wallet as well as on your back.

Work related back injuries, also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), account for one-third of all work related injuries and illnesses each year. The average cost of a back injury worker’s comp claim can be as high as $80,000. This covers the cost of medical care and missed work.

So, can you get workers’ compensation for a back injury?

We trust doctors to be experts at their jobs. Mothers trust doctors with their babies’ lives. But, what happens when a doctor fails in his duties? What if your baby is injured during birth? Can you sue?

Maryland’s Court of Appeals recently upheld a $20.6 million jury award to a family whose son was severely disabled during birth. The suit claimed that doctors failed to perform a Cesarean section; the prolonged vaginal birth cut off the baby’s oxygen, leaving the boy with cerebral palsy and requiring medical care for the rest of his life.

With over five birth injuries for every 1,000 babies born, many people have brought medical malpractice claims and birth injury lawsuits against doctors, nurses, and hospitals. So if your baby is injured at birth, do you have a case?

Top Personal Injury Questions From FindLaw Answers: March 2015

You’ve got questions… we’ve got answers. If you have not yet asked or answered a question in FindLaw’s Answers community, what are you waiting for? This amazing free resource supports a dynamic community of legal consumers and attorneys helping each other out. Simple as that.

We see a lot of great questions in our Answers community every day. Here’s a look at two recent questions from our accident and injury boards:

1. I was injured in a car accident caused by a city bus driver. Is it possible to sue the government? And if I can sue the government, is the process any different from suing a ‘regular’ (non-government) party?

Ever heard of the saying, “the king can do no wrong”? This question brings up the doctrine of sovereign immunity — an old legal theory that basically protects the government from being sued without its own permission. Luckily for the original poster, many states have loosened these protections, and now allow people to file claims (personal injury, premises liability, etc.) for injuries caused by government entities.

It's happened to almost everyone. You parked your car in the grocery store's lot, and when you come out, a dreaded shopping cart is up against your car! Who is going to pay for the damage?

A New Jersey woman recently went head-to-head with Sam's Club, demanding that the store pay for damage to her car caused by two shopping carts. The woman had just parked her car when she saw two carts stacked together and a shouting Sam's Club employee zooming towards her car. Bam! The runaway carts hit her front bumper, causing over $1,000 in damage.

Sam's Club initially refused to pay for the woman's damages, NJ.com reports. The store claimed that a customer left the carts in the parking lot and the wind blew the carts towards her car, so they were not liable.

Should Sam's Club, or any store, be responsible for dents and dings caused by shopping carts?

When you’re injured at work, you’ll want to file for worker’s compensation benefits as soon as possible. This is simple to do when you break an arm on the job or slip and fall on your way into the office. But what if you developed an ailment like carpel tunnel syndrome and aren’t sure when it started?

When do you file for compensation then? What is the time limit for worker’s comp, and when does the clock start ticking on your claim?

A driver’s car insurance can cover damage that a car inflicts on a bicycle. But does it cover damage that a bicycle may inflict on a car?

Say you’re driving down the road, minding your own business, when — WHAM! — you get hit by a bicyclist. There are scratches and dents along the side of your car, and your side mirror is gone. Who’s going to pay for all of this?

Assuming that the bicyclist is completely at fault, then the bicyclist is responsible for paying for the damages. But, if he can’t pay out of pocket, will his car insurance (if he has it) cover the damage?

Injuries can happen, and ruin, any vacation. But there something about Spring Break that seems to increase the injury danger.

If you're injured while on Spring Break, you're probably far from home and could use some tips on handling your case. Here are a few that you may want to keep in mind:

In a move angering tort reform proponents, a Tennessee judge has ruled that the state’s cap on non-economic injury damages is unconstitutional.

Donald and Beverly Clark sued Aimee Cain and AT&T for damages after a car crash in March 2012. The couple sought $22.5 million for pain and suffering damages. Before the jury decided on an award, AT&T moved for partial summary judgment because they wanted to cap any damage award at the legal limit of $750,000. But Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge W. Neil Thomas ruled that the cap on non-economic damages is unconstitutional because it violated the fundamental right to a jury trial.

What is are non-economic damages, and what led up to the judge’s ruling?

Generally, injuries that occur at work during work hours are covered by worker's compensation. But what about when you're commuting to work? Are you covered then?

Not usually. In most cases, the time spent commuting to and from work generally does not count as work, so injuries during that time are usually not considered work-related. This is called the portal-to-portal rule. Simple, right?

Not really. There are exceptions to this rule. Here are three situations in which injuries during commutes could potentially be covered by worker's comp:

If you’ve been injured on the job and thought about filing a worker’s compensation claim, you may have worried about how that could affect your employment. Could your boss fire you for filing a worker’s compensation claim?

The short answer is no: Most states make it illegal to retaliate against an employee who files a worker’s comp claim. That said, there are a few ins and outs to be aware of when filing your claim.

Stories of bullying in the school yard are in the news all too often. Just last month, a 12-year old boy with Asperger's syndrome was beaten so severely, he had to be hospitalized with a jawline fracture, fractured skull, and ear damage.

Often, victims' parents sue the school districts that failed to protect their students or the actual bullies. However, can parents of the bullies also be sued?

So you’ve been in a car accident, and you’ve filed suit (or are considering a suit) against the other party. However, the idea of going to trial and all the costs involved have you thinking twice.

You just want to be compensated for you injuries and damages as quickly as possible.

Have you considered car accident mediation?

Two new studies have shown a dramatic decrease in worker's compensation benefits over the last 10 years. And it appears that a system designed to compensate employees for serious on-the-job injuries is being whittled away.

A study by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and joint investigation by ProPublica and NPR combine to paint a dire picture for those injured on the job -- a picture that may be getting worse.

The Texas nurse who contracted Ebola from a patient has filed a lawsuit against the hospital where she worked. Nina Pham alleges the hospital’s negligence led to her catching the deadly disease and is seeking compensation for continuing physical and emotional effects.

Although some additional claims focus on the invasion of Pham’s privacy and fraud on the part of the hospital, there are a few legal lessons to be gleaned from the nurse’s injury claims. For example:

It's possible that you could be a party in a class action lawsuit and you might not even know it. And if you've gotten a notice of a pending or completed class action lawsuit, you may be wondering what to do next.

While many class action notices don't require any action on your part, here is some basic info to bring you up to speed on why you're receiving a class action notice and what you may need to do:

A woman has sued a barbecue brush manufacturer after she swallowed a broken brush bristle while eating a hamburger, landing her in the hospital.

Deborah Lamont of Presque Isle, Maine, is suing Precision Brush Co. and M2M LLC, alleging negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty.

What led up to this case, and what will Lamont need to prove in order to win?