Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

Negligence and Other Injuries

Negligence is the most commonly used legal principle in personal injury lawsuits. Essentially, the concept of negligence rests on the idea that the defendant owed some sort of a duty to the injured party and that duty was somehow breached. The duty is usually breached through an action or inaction of the defendant. The breach of the injury must have been the proximate cause of the injury.

There also exists an element of foreseeability in negligence. For there to be a valid negligence claim, the injury must have been foreseeable in the actions (or inaction) of the defendant and the injured party must have been within a "zone of danger". The concept of foreseeability is sometimes different among the states but the general premise is the same.

Recently in Negligence / Other Injuries Category

To date, investigators have yet to determine the cause of a series of fires that destroyed over 5,000 structures and killed over 40 people in northern California's wine country. But one Santa Rosa couple thinks they know the culprit: Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

Wayne and Jennifer Harvell are suing PG&E, claiming the company failed to properly maintain the areas around some of its power lines, allowing vegetation to come into contact with electrical equipment and sparking fires that the state insurance commissioner estimates caused over $1 billion in damage.

Lawsuits seem to follow any tragedy. And when the person most directly responsible for the tragedy is no longer alive -- as is the case in so many mass shootings -- victims look for someone to hold legally accountable. Schools and movie theaters have been targeted with lawsuits after shootings before, so it's only natural to wonder whether the hotel from which Stephen Paddock killed 58 and wounded almost 500 more, the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, could be liable for the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Here's a look at the hotel's potential legal liability following the shooting.

Hospitals, and the medical professionals they employ, are supposed to be the places and people we can turn to for care, cure, and comfort. Sadly, in doesn't always work out that way. Hospitals can make mistakes and their employees can abuse their power to take advantage of vulnerable patients.

That's what happened according to one woman's lawsuit against Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford, Mississippi. A Jane Doe claims a paramedic sexually assaulted her in the back of an ambulance while she was suffering from a drug overdose and being transported to the hospital.

Peter Godefroy was riding his bicycle on Valley Vista Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, California two years ago when struck a pothole, crashed his bike, and suffered "severe traumatic brain injury and numerous broken or fractured bones throughout his body." Godefroy sued the City of Los Angeles, claiming poor lighting and even worse maintenance led to a simple pothole becoming a "concealed trap for bicyclists."

The L.A. City Council settled that lawsuit last week, voting 11-0 to approve granting Godefroy $6.5 million in damages. It's the second such settlement this year, after the council also awarded $4.5 million to the family of a man killed after he was thrown from his bike when he hit uneven pavement in the city.

"As parents, we trust that our children are safe while they are under the supervision of organizations like Community Nursery & Preschool, and that those individuals taking care of our children are responsible, qualified, and professional care providers. When organizations and individuals betray that trust, the consequences can be tragic and heart-breaking."

That sounds like some of the openings we've had to write in response to children being injured or killed while at daycare. In fact they're the words of David S. Cain Jr., an attorney representing the family of 5-year-old Kamden Johnson, whose body discovered in the driveway in Mobile, Alabama last week.

Generally speaking, if you're injured by someone else's negligence you can sue for compensation. The exceptions to that rule may be statutory (some laws prohibit injury lawsuits in certain circumstances), procedural (you may need to file a notice with a government entity before suing), or legal (you may be partially at fault yourself).

One of those legal exceptions is if you've waived liability for a person or parties if you get injured. Waivers normally pop up at schools or day care, gyms or fitness facilities, and risky recreational activities like skiing, skydiving, or river rafting. Often, people think signing a liability waiver means you can never sue if you're injured, but there are exceptions to that rule as well. Here are five of the biggest questions regarding waivers in injury cases:

Joshua Kuiper should've known the dangers of drunk driving, including the liability for causing an accident. Kuiper is a former Kent County, Michigan prosecutor, who was fired after crashing his truck into a parked car while traveling the wrong direction on a one way street, seriously injuring Daniel Empson, who was getting a coat out of his car parked on the street.

Kuiper, who was charged with a felony charge of reckless driving, should also be aware of dram shop laws, which hold bars and restaurants liable for injuries caused by overserved patrons. If not, he knows now -- the injury lawsuit Empson filed against Kuiper has been expanded to include three establishments that served him before the crash, alleging they should've known he was drunk.

Going to a theme park can be the highlight of any person's summer. For the most part, rides and attractions are safe, but things can go wrong. When a guest is injured at a theme park, that guest might be left wondering what rights they have to recover for their injuries.

Although theme parks frequently try to limit their liability by requiring guests to agree to liability waivers as a condition of entry, these will not always protect the parks. Surprisingly, theme park injuries tend to have a high settlement rate.

Whitewater river rafting can be dangerous -- that's part of the allure for most rafters and a risk that most guides will repeat early and often to their guests. In addition, many, if not all rafting companies will have rafters sign liability waivers, acknowledging these dangers and agreeing to indemnify the companies in the case of injury or death.

One waiver in particular may stand in the way of a Colorado widow's negligence lawsuit after her husband was ejected from a raft in Hell's Half Mile rapids on the Green River, and died of accidental drowning and asphyxia.

Individuals that are thinking about filing a lawsuit are often confused by the various parts of a lawsuit. One of the more confusing parts of any lawsuit is discovery, or the exchange of facts and evidence between the parties.

Discovery is the legal term used to describe the different processes that require parties in a lawsuit to exchange information that each side possesses. For example, in an employment law case, a fired employee will want to see their personnel file, and through discovery, an employer would likely be required to provide those documents.

Below, you can read about the discovery process, the various tools, and how disputes get resolved.