Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

November 2017 Archives

Following the horrific accusations regarding a Florida nursing home in the wake of Hurricane Irma, you would hope California facilities would be on high alert during any natural disasters, like, say, a wildfire. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

"These people were left stranded," attorney Kathryn Stebner told the Los Angeles Times. "They had no keys, no cell service, no walkie-talkies. The three caregivers on hand did not know about any evacuation plan ... and in fact, were waiting for an executive director, who did not show up. How could they have gotten out?"

Black Friday Injury Roundup

We warned you -- Black Friday is dangerous. And, as expected, quite a few people were injured while trying to take advantage of some sweet shopping deals this year. While we're not quite as morbid as BlackFridayDeathCount.com (or as humorous as The Onion), it can be valuable to take a look at this year's injuries, how they might have been avoided, and what lawsuits may follow.

Here's a rundown of 2017's Black Friday injuries:

Johnson and Johnson has become a regular subject of our injury blogs. From talc-based baby powder causing cancer to vaginal mesh implants causing bleeding and loss of sexual function to anti-psychotics causing breast enlargement in male patients, Johnson and Johnson has been the subject of hundreds of lawsuits and been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in jury verdicts. To be fair, many of the allegedly defective products were made by J&J subsidiaries, but the most damning accusations claim J&J knew of the danger to consumers and sold the products anyway.

The same can be said for Johnson and Johnson's Pinnacle hip implants designed and manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedic. Johnson and Johnson faces some 9,700 lawsuits nationwide regarding the implants and has just been ordered to pay out its third jury award, this one for $247 million.

The crowds; the anticipation; the joy; and the pain. There really is nothing like the exhilaration and hysteria of Black Friday. One day every year, American shoppers lose their collective minds in an effort to save a few bucks on Christmas presents. But the damage and injuries sustained on Black Friday can last years or even lifetimes.

So here are the five most common Black Friday injuries, how to avoid them, and what to do if you can't:

Last week, an Alabama jury awarded $7.5 million to a man who fell while shopping for watermelons at a local Walmart. That may seem like a lot for a simple slip and fall, but security camera footage showed several shoppers suffering similar entanglements with a pallet hidden beneath the watermelon display, and Henry Walker went from playing basketball a few times a week with his friends to needing a walker just to get around after shattering his hip.

The case got us thinking about some of the biggest jury awards and settlements following slip and fall lawsuits, so here are the top five from our archives:

Who knew shopping was this dangerous? Henry Walker found out while reaching for a watermelon in an Alabama Walmart in 2015. Walker's foot got caught in a wooden pallet on the floor, causing him to fall and shatter his hip.

Walker sued Walmart, claiming the retailer should've known the pallet was likely to cause an injury and failed to "exercise reasonable care, to maintain and keep its premises in a reasonable safe condition, and to warn the public of unsafe and hazardous conditions." A jury agreed, and awarded Walker $7.5 million in damages.

Last week, Devin Kelley gunned down 26 people in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. As it turns out, due to an Air Force court-martial for domestic violence, Kelley should never have been allowed to purchase the AR-15 military-style rifle he used in the shooting. The problem was that the Air Force never reported his conviction to the National Criminal Information Center database used for gun-buying background checks.

According to the New York Times, the Air Force admitted that Kelley's domestic violence conviction should have been entered into the database and promised to conduct a review of similar cases to determine if others had been properly reported. But could that failure also lead to civil liability in the shooting? Here's a look:

Doctors and medical professionals are experts in their field, and we rely on their knowledge, insight, and judgment to make and keep us well. And if a doctor's medical expertise seems beyond our general understanding, so too can medical malpractice lawsuits.

That means a lot people, even lawmakers, have misconceptions about medical practice and how medical malpractice lawsuits work. For example, legislators thought they could reduce lawsuits by allowing doctors to apologize for mistakes without their apologies being used against them in court. It didn't quite work out that way.

Here are some other misconceptions and myths about medical malpractice lawsuits, and where to go to find the truth.

With what we now know about how germs are spread, one might think that if someone gets them sick, they'll be able to sue the person who got them sick. While, generally, you can sue anyone for anything, particularly when you've been clearly wronged by another's negligence, doing so is not always a good idea.

Typically, cases involving the transmission of illnesses are plagued with some rather high hurdles. At the outset, not only will a victim be required to prove that the defendant actually got them sick, but also that it was intentional or negligent. And even though the first part might seem clear to you, if the illness can be spread in different ways, or is easily communicated in the air, or on surfaces, it's going to be really hard to prove. Though certain situations, like housing environments leading to illness, or STD transmissions, might be a bit more cut and dry.

Just about everyone would like to sample something before they buy it. We try on clothes and shoes before purchasing, get sips of wine before assenting to the whole bottle, and hear snippets of music before downloading an entire song or album.

It's no surprise that we'd like to try on our makeup before we buy it as well. What else could account for the ubiquitous free samples at makeup counters in malls and stores nationwide? But exactly how we sample makeup has become a central issue in a lawsuit filed by a California woman who claims a lipstick sample from a Sephora store gave her oral herpes.

The July confrontation in Utah made headlines nationwide: a University Hospital nurse standing off a Salt Lake City police officer, refusing to allow blood to be drawn from an unconscious patient involved in a car crash. Alex Wubbels correctly pointed out to Detective Jeff Payne the patient was not under arrest, Payne did not have a warrant to obtain the blood, and that he could not obtain consent from the unconscious man.

Payne arrested Wubbels anyway, ostensibly for obstruction of justice, but the nurse was released less than an hour later and never charged. Today, Wubbels and her attorney announced they have reached a settlement with the city and the university that owns the hospital for $500,000.