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.

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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.

Fireworks are really dangerous. Not only can the explosions and fire destroy property, but people can be severely injured. In some states, and localities, certain fireworks require permits, and oftentimes those permits require insurance. Regardless, there really is nothing quite like safely firing off some giant fireworks into the night sky. Heck, even medium sized ones are fun. But, with great firepower comes potentially even greater legal liability.

If your property is damaged when a neighbor sets off fireworks, even if illuminating the night sky is legal in your state, you can still sue. If there are laws against using fireworks in residential areas, or your city or state, and a neighbor causes your property damages, they could potentially face criminal penalties as well.

Summer is the perfect time to get back to nature. And while nature can contain beauty, quiet solitude, and a break from the hustle of a job and city life, it can present its own set of dangers. From insects and animals to rocky trails, and, yes, falling trees, Mother Nature can be an unwelcoming host.

Perhaps that's part of the allure of camping, but what happens when something goes bad in the great outdoors? Here's a look:

Shopping carts may seem innocuous enough, even cute if they're designed like race cars and carrying toddlers around the store. But they become a bit more sinister after an accident, especially one causing injuries. Shopping carts injure 24,000 kids every year, according to one study, and can become especially dangerous during peak shopping hours -- like after work -- or peak shopping days -- like Black Friday.

If you're injured by a shopping cart in or outside of a store, do you have a legal claim? And whom can you sue?

As the old saying goes, "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt." And with more fun and games over the summer months comes more opportunity for injury. While we hope everyone stays safe this summer, some injuries are inevitable.

So here is some of our best advice for avoiding and dealing with summertime injuries, from our archives:

American Airlines is facing a lawsuit over its allegedly deplorable treatment of a man with no feet. Michael Mennella, who lost both feet due to an auto accident over five years ago, was removed from an American Airlines flight, for allegedly being intoxicated. Mennella alleges he was removed as a result of discrimination and negligence.

The flight was diverted, and made an emergency landing in Texas, where Mennella was removed from the plane by officers. Although American Airlines claimed Mennella was intoxicated, law enforcement found no evidence of intoxication whatsoever. He was told that he would be arrested on felony charges, but was released once officers starting talking with him. He was not booked, nor charged. Fortunately, Mennella was able to catch a flight to his final destination on another airline. However, being removed from the flight was the final straw to an already aggravating experience.