Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

March 2016 Archives

3 Legal Tips for Travel in Times of Terrorism

You can’t live in fear, but you should travel with an awareness of terrorism and the dangers that exist in our world. There is no sure way to keep safe, but you should be informed, using reliable and timely sources.

Knowing some basics about what to do in case of emergency, before you go and while you are on the road, is also important. Here are some guidelines to consider.

Americans love sports. Athletics — both playing and watching — is part of our national DNA. And like anything we do so often, we run the risk of getting hurt as an athlete or as a spectator.

But figuring out who’s at fault for sports injuries can be difficult. Here are some big questions surrounding sports injuries and sports injury lawsuits:

While most battery cases are handled in criminal courts, if prosecutors are unwilling or unable to bring a case, you may be able to sue someone in civil court for battery. Battery is generally defined as the intentional touching of another person in a harmful or offensive manner, without consent. But a seemingly straightforward battery claim can be surprisingly complicated.

Here’s a simple guide to battery lawsuits:

Who Is Liable in a Skateboarding Accident?

The skaters of your youth have turned into adult commuters and they are riding their decks through crowded city streets, which has piqued your interest in skateboard liability. What does this mean in the case of injury and who can be sued in a skateboard crash?

Just as in any other type of accident, liability for an injury stemming from a skateboard crash will be considered under the law of negligence. Negligence has four elements which must be proven for an injury claim to succeed. Let’s review them here.

Can Workers' Comp or Injury Settlements Be Garnished?

You were hurt on the job and you are getting workers’ compensation, which helps. But your debts are many and you worry that your creditors are going to come calling.

You’d happily pay everyone what you owe if you could but you have no funds to spare and there is no way to pay off debt with the little you get now. Will your worker’s compensation be garnished? The short answer is probably not. Let’s look at some details.

Recovering From a Traumatic Brain Injury

Kevin Pearce was living the dream until he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. An international snowboarding sensation, Pearce was training for the 2010 Olympic trials when he did a trick and crashed. His Olympic dreams were dashed but not his fighting spirit.

Pearce and his brother founded Love Your Brain, an organization which supports brain injury survivors and their caregivers. He also helps by sharing his story, which is proof positive that it's possible to recover from a traumatic brain injury. That is good news because they seem to be increasingly common.

What's 'Patient Harm' and Who Sues for It?

Patient harm is exactly what it sounds like: an injury to a person in a medical context. Hospitals and health care providers are legally obligated to report these incidents to state regulatory agencies, but there have been some very serious cases of patient harm that administrators did not report or did but made the harm seem more mild.

So, not only were patients hurt in the hospital but health care administrators broke the rules of reporting. In some cases of severe patient harm, hospitals reported that an incident occurred but omitted critical details that reveal the extent of the harm. Let’s take a look at a sample case and your options as a patient who has been harmed.

Can I Get Workers' Comp for a Business Trip Injury?

You were sent to attend a convention for work and you got hurt setting up the company booth. On the flight, your back cramped up and the pain won’t go away. So now you’re curious — will workers compensation pay for this injury?

Breathe easy. The answer is probably yes, most likely, although each state does have its own statutes and every case has its own unique deciding details. But the first key to a successful workers compensation claim is that the injury is work-related. Let’s look at the basics.

We all want our children to be happy and healthy, but sadly some children are born with birth defects or birth injuries. And while some may be genetic or random chance, some birth defects can be caused by medication, the environment, or even a virus. Some birth injuries can be caused my the negligence of doctors, nurses, or other medical personnel.

If a child’s birth defect or injury is the fault of another person or product, parents may consider suing the person or company responsible. Here are some legal tips for birth defects lawsuits:

Proving You're Not at Fault in a Car Accident

You go into a fender bender, or rather, someone bent their fender on your car. Even though you are sure you’re not at fault, the insurance companies seem less certain. How can that be? What do you need to do to prove you did not cause the crash?

Laws vary from state to state and fault determinations in most car accidents are based on motor vehicle statutes, so it’s impossible to address your situation specifically without more details. But we can generally examine the law, auto insurance, and the factors that go into deciding who is at fault after an accident.

Drug overdoses can be anything from simple mistakes to suicide attempts and they can have tragic consequences. In some cases those consequences can extend to dealers, friends, or family of the person who overdoses. Some states have begun prosecuting drug dealers with murder if a customer overdoses, and others are bypassing Good Samaritan protections and charging friends who dial 911 for overdosing friends with drug crimes.

And beyond possible criminal charges, could you be sued if you gave someone drugs that led to a deadly overdose? Or if someone overdoses in your house? Here’s a look at civil liability for drug overdoses.

Does My Child Qualify for SSI Disability?

Government benefit programs exist to help society’s most vulnerable in times of difficulty. Many of us are familiar with social security disability insurance (SSDI) because we pay a portion of our earnings into the system. That is different from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. These SSI payments are available to adults and children and unrelated to employment.

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), children who are disabled and growing up in a home with little or no income and resources are eligible for social security income. Let’s take a look at eligibility requirements and the application process for obtaining benefits for disabled children.

Drivers are often responsible for car accidents. But what about the people who sold them the cars? Car dealerships could be on the hook for car accident injuries if they occur during a test drive, if they are due to a car malfunction, or a variety of other reasons.

Here are some common questions, and answers, regarding car dealership lawsuits:

Can I Get Workers' Comp for Anxiety and Emotional Distress?

You're stressed out and you can't deal with your job. In fact, it's the job that's causing your anxiety and emotional distress, or so you and your psychiatrist believe. You just cannot deal anymore.

Does that mean you can get workers' compensation for this emotional distress? Well, maybe. The answer to that question will depend on where you live and work, what you do, how the injury arose, and more.

A great restaurant can get your meal just right. And yet, a million things could go wrong. We’re not saying that restaurants are inherently dangerous places, but injuries can happen everywhere and they can happen with great variety in restaurants.

Here are five common injuries sustained in restaurants and whether you can sue for them:

Mental illness and disability can be especially hard for employers to identify and accommodate for, and people with cognitive disabilities have just a 24.2 percent employment rate. And if you are unable to work due to mental cognitive impairments, anxiety related impairments, or affective impairments, you may find it difficult to prove a Social Security Disability Insurance claim.

While proving a mental disability can be a challenge, it’s not impossible. Here’s how to do it:

We go to doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals to feel better. But it doesn’t always work out that way. While some injuries and illnesses are beyond a doctor’s ability to heal, there are times when hospitals, clinics, or their staff misdiagnose or mistreat a patient.

In that case, you may be considering a medical malpractice lawsuit. Here are five questions, and answers, that can help:

Doctor Prescribed the Wrong Medication: Can I Sue?

You went to the doctor with inexplicable symptoms, and you were prescribed a medication. It turns out that the prescription led to complications and more illness. In fact you are in worse shape now than when you visited the doctor initially. Can you sue for this injury?

Prescriptions can be the basis for a medical malpractice suit. But there’s more to malpractice than just a doctor making a mistake. The only way your suit will succeed is if you can prove that your doctor acted negligently in prescribing the medication, a claim which involves multiple elements.

Employment opportunities for people with disabilities are increasing — more offices and workplaces are offering accommodations to employees with disabilities, and more employers are willing to hire prospective employees with disabilities.

But it’s not easy: people with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty and the employment rate for people with disabilities is less than half that for people without. So which states are better at offering people with disabilities employment opportunities? And which are worse?

Using Your Smartphone as a Post-Accident Tool

You were on the way to work and you got rear-ended by some jerk in a hurry. Now you are late and worried, checking your texts every few minutes for bad news from the boss. Instead, consider using your cell phone to document your accident and ensure that you have all the evidence you need for your insurer or a personal injury suit.

So what should you be doing while waiting on the side of the road for a tow? Well, if you had one of the many accident-preparedness apps available today, you’d use that. But if not, here are some helpful reminders.

Car accident lawsuits can be complicated. Beyond the police reports and determining whose fault it was, there are insurance companies, settlement negotiations, and possibly medical records and files to go through. The average car accident claim can take a year or more, and that’s if everything goes smoothly.

But this is the real world, and nobody’s perfect. So here are three mistakes you can make when filing a car accident lawsuit, and how to avoid them.

Can Victims of Child Sexual Abuse Sue?

It is common for victims of sexual abuse, particularly kids, to experience denial, repressing memories of crimes that were committed against them. Perhaps this is one reason that in criminal law in many states there is no statute of limitations for prosecution of child sexual abuse cases, and that time limits are extended for these kinds of claims in civil suits.

Certainly, the best-known sexual abuse claims often arose years after they occurred ... with the help of reporters. The Archdiocese of Boston recently acknowledged as much after the movie "Spotlight" -- about The Boston Globe's investigation of a widespread scandal in the Catholic Church -- won an Oscar. But generally speaking there are time limits for filing a claim. So let's take a look at ways cases may advance despite the passage of time.

What Are the First Steps in a Workers' Compensation Claim?

You were hurt at work and you know you can be compensated — after all you pay into the workers’ compensation insurance system. But you are unsure how to make a claim and what first steps to take.

The workers’ compensation system is designed to be straightforward and easy to navigate but it can definitely help if you know some basics. So, let’s look at the making a claim.

When Insurance Isn't Enough: Car Accident Lawsuits

Car owners generally must carry auto insurance and that makes accident claim resolution simple, in theory. We don’t go to court over every fender bender.

But your insurer makes the most money when it doesn’t have to pay out for accidents. So sometimes the guys you hired to be on your side are keeping their own interests in mind and you need to apply pressure. Let’s look at two times you should turn to an attorney for help, either because insurance thwarts your reimbursement or because the extent of injury demands a lawsuit.

Accidents and injuries don’t just happen at home — sometimes they can ruin a vacation or work trip. And while getting hurt anywhere is scary, getting injured abroad can be even more so when you are unfamiliar with foreign hospitals, medical care, or the law.

So if you’re gearing up for a Spring Break trip or summer vacation, or picked up an injury while on Winter Break or a Christmas vacation abroad, here are five laws you need to know:

As the worsening Lumber Liquidators scandal has shown, you can find dangerous levels of formaldehyde in some weird places. The CDC warns that exposure to formaldehyde can irritate your airways, causing a sore throat, scratchy eyes, and nosebleeds, may exacerbate existing breathing conditions, and has been known to cause cancer.

Along with avoiding laminated flooring from Lumber Liquidators, here are some other places to be on the lookout for formaldehyde, and whether you can sue if you’ve suffered adverse health effects from formaldehyde exposure.

When Can You Sue for Scarring or Disfigurement?

We all have physical and emotional scars. Some of them heal quickly, some remain with us forever, and we mostly accept that getting hurt is part of life. But what if you end up scarred or disfigured due to the negligence of another?

Then, it’s a little harder to accept. You want to sue the person and make them pay. Can you? The answer will depend on the extent of your scarring and the context in which it arose.

Not all surgeries or medical procedures go the way we planned, but your injuries may not be the doctor’s fault. Sometimes medical devices and implants can be poorly designed, fail, or become damaged over time, causing serious health risks and even death.

Lawsuits based on defective medical devices can be complicated and face significant legal hurdles, but can be necessary to hold device manufacturers accountable for flaws in design, manufacture, or warnings. Here’s what you need to know about medical device lawsuits:

How to Prove Fault in a Wrongful Death Case

If you lost a loved one due to the negligence or deliberate misconduct of another, you can sue for wrongful death. To succeed in such a claim you have to prove that the death was caused by another person’s action or inaction and that there was no unforeseeable intervening cause.

Proving fault is not always straightforward, and of course there are defenses to claims of negligence. But there are certainly cases when a defendant is found guilty of wrongful death, despite being found not guilty in a criminal trial, as most famously illustrated by OJ Simpson. Let’s examine the elements of a wrongful death claim.

Are Nanny Websites Like Care.com Liable for Nanny Crimes?

Hidden nanny cameras were invented to capture parent nightmares on film, and they work. Last month, a babysitter in California, 20 years old, was caught suffocating a baby, 13 months, who would not stop crying as she tried to put him to bed.

The babysitter has since been charged with felony child abuse and ordered to stay away from children, according to KRON 4 local news in Livermore. She got her gig on Care.com. Is the website liable to parents?

Spring is fast approaching. Meaning that the season where our nation’s youth, in the prime of their poor decision-making lives, will venture forth to hot, dangerous, and alcohol-filled locations is nearly upon us. Which destination will prove the most perilous? What new and gruesome injuries will our country’s college students bring home from equatorial climes?

Here are the five most likely spring break injuries, based on our experience:

Property Contamination Claims: Who to Blame

Perhaps you’ve been living over a dump. Obviously, you didn’t know about it or you wouldn’t have been so thrilled by the cheap rent. Now the place has made you sick.

Who do you blame? Who can you sue? Is someone supposed to clean this mess? And shouldn’t you have been warned? The answers to these questions are not always straightforward. Let’s explore them.

The hits just keep on coming for Lumber Liquidators in their burgeoning formaldehyde flooring scandal. Amidst class action lawsuits and criminal investigations comes news that the company’s stock price has been tanking, even farther than expected.

Why? Because the flooring in question is even more of a cancer risk than expected. The Centers for Disease Control released an elevated warning, saying the the risk of contracting cancer from exposure to certain laminate floors is now at six to 30 cases per 100,000 people, triple what it had previously warned.

Can I Sue a Website for Libel?

It’s great to be able to communicate with so many people all over the world using the Internet. But it also means that there are more opportunities for defamation, or people publishing false and injurious comments that result in damages after lawsuits.

You can sue a website for the defamatory statements it posts to a limited extent. But Facebook can’t be blamed for the inane things people say on it all the time. If someone uses the social media platform, or any other, to defame you, you can use that as evidence for your defamation suit against the insulting writer. And if, say, you are defamed on a personal or business website, then you can target the site in your suit.

First Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Case in Oregon

Health officials in Oregon last Friday announced the state’s first known case of sexually transmitted Zika virus. The victim is a woman whose partner had active Zika symptoms. Officials do not yet know if the disease can be passed to sexual partners when it is dormant, which would make infection even more dangerous than it now seems.

“Though mosquito bites appear to be the most common way Zika is spread, there is increasing evidence for sexual transmission as well,” Dr. Richard Leman, Oregon’s public health physician, said in a news release. Meanwhile, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating more than a dozen similar cases around the country, also seemingly transmitted sexually.