Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

May 2012 Archives

Applebee's has settled a lawsuit brought by parents of a Texas boy who suffered brain injuries when an allegedly drunk restaurant patron crashed into their car.

The parents of Abdallah Khader, now 6, sought $10 million from Kansas City, Mo.-based Applebee's in a civil lawsuit, Dallas' KTVT reports. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed.

The Khaders' lawsuit accused workers at a Mansfield, Texas, Applebee's of serving a man 23 drinks in less than two hours, leading him to drive drunk and crash into the Khaders' car. A law firm's investigation was key to the Applebee's settlement, the family's lawyer said.

5 Things to Do When You're a Hit-and-Run Victim

Car accidents are common, which unfortunately means that hit-and-run accidents are also common. And don’t think such accidents are only between cars, either. Approximately 16% of pedestrian-car crashes are actually hit-and-runs.

If you ever end up being amongst the many hit-and-run victims in this country, your first response will probably be panic. And maybe anger. But before you dwell on any of these emotions, consider doing the following things.

Woman Who Texted Driver Can't be Sued: NJ Judge

New Jersey Judge David Rand has decided not to impose civil liability on Shannon Colonna, a woman who was sued for texting a driver who then caused an accident. David and Linda Kubert were left amputees after Colonna texted with Kyle Best, who happened to have been driving at the time.

The couple claimed that Colonna knew or should have known Best was driving. This, they argued, made her liable for aiding and abetting Best's negligence. She was "virtually present."

You are what you eat -- but if you're a victim of food poisoning, what should you do? You may be hungry for justice to be served via a lawsuit, but hold on.

About 76 million cases of foodborne illness are reported each year; most are mild and cause only a day or two of sickness. But about 325,000 cases a year require hospital treatment, and about 5,000 cases result in death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In general, food poisoning lawsuits fall under the legal theory of product liability. Here are three "courses" of action for what to do after a bad case of food poisoning:

Can You Be Sued for Texting a Driver?

Everyone knows that texting while driving is dangerous. In many states, it's not only illegal, but it can also get you sued. But how about people who text drivers, can they be held responsible, too? A New Jersey court will soon decide this very issue.

David and Linda Kuber both lost their legs in a 2009 car accident. The other driver was Kyle Best, 19. He allegedly sideswiped the Kubers' car while texting and driving, MSNBC reports.

The twist on this story is the Kubers' lawyer, Skippy Weinstein, is going after both Best and Shannon Colonna, the woman who was texting him.

Motorcycle Deaths Remain High Nationwide

In 2009, there was hope. Despite the fact that motorcycle deaths had been on the rise for 12 straight years, the number of fatalities had dropped by 16%. But now that hope has been squashed, as the number of motorcycle deaths has stagnated and shown no improvement in 2 years.

In 2011, the number of motorcycle deaths increased in 26 states. The number also decreased in 23 states and remained the same in Louisiana. 

Overall, there were an estimated 4,500 motorcycle fatalities last year.

Why so many?

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed into law the nation's first statewide ban against fracking, citing concerns the oil- and gas-extraction practice could hurt the environment and public health.

"This bill will ensure that we do not inject chemicals into groundwater in a desperate pursuit for energy," Shumlin said, according to CNN. The science behind fracking is "uncertain at best," he declared.

But supporters of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, say Vermont's concerns are unfounded. They also point out that Vermont has little financial incentive to support the fracking industry.

Ferrari Drivers Charged in NJ Biker's Death

A New Jersey man was killed in a head-on collision with a Ferrari. Stephen Lenge was riding to work on his motorcycle when he was hit.

The accident happened near the MetLife Stadium. Two 2006 Ferrari F430s were headed toward the 56-year-old Lenge. One of the drivers, Joseph Meyer, 19, lost control of his car and spun out, The Star-Ledger reports. The other Ferrari driver, Joseph Ferretti, 28, swerved to avoid being hit and crashed into Lenge's motorcycle.

So how fast were Meyer and Ferreti going?

Should You Take Your Car Insurance's Offer?

If you've been in an auto accident, then you've probably reported it to your car insurance company. Chances are they sent you to an auto body shop and then asked you about a million questions about the vehicle and your physical health. And then you received an offer.

Like many people, you're probably not too happy about your car insurance's settlement offer. You feel it's simply too low. But you're wondering if you should still take it.

You don't have to.

Help! I've Been Hit by an Uninsured Driver

Some drivers don't have insurance. Yes, even in states where motorists are required to carry a minimum collision policy - it happens. And if you're reading this, you may be one of the unlucky many to be hit by an uninsured driver. Not so good for you.

But don't worry, you're not completely without recourse. If you've been hit by an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver, you may still be able to get your insurance company or the other party to pay your bills. But to get to that point, you've got to do the following:

Man with Amputated Penis Sues for Medical Malpractice

A former Florida man who had his penis amputated is suing for medical malpractice.

Enrique Milla claims he went to doctors for elective penile implant surgery. The procedure was to correct his erectile dysfunction, NBC Miami reports. But it took a turn for the worse and his penis was removed. He accuses the anesthesiologist, Dr. Laurentiu Boeru, of failing to postpone the surgery.

So how and why did his penis end up getting cut off?

Lawyer Couple Get $360K Over NYPD False Arrest

New York City has agreed to pay Michael Warren and his wife Evelyn $360,000 to settle accusations of police brutality and wrongful arrest. The couple, both civil rights attorneys, alleged they were assaulted when they tried to help a man they say was being beaten by police officers.

The settlement was announced on Monday, just hours before the civil trial was set to begin. Jonathan Moore, a Manhattan injury attorney specializing in governmental misconduct, represented the couple. He believes the settlement represents an "acknowledgement of misconduct."

Skechers Shape-up's Ads Made Deceptive, False Claims

Did you buy a pair of Skechers Shape-up toning shoes? If so, get ready for a refund.

The shoe company has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which accused the company of making false claims about its Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-up shoes. The company claimed, with the help of Kim Kardashian, that wearing the convex-soled shoes would help people lose weight and strengthen muscles better than normal fitness shoes.

They don't. And for that, consumers will get a nice chunk of the $40 million Skechers settlement.

Tree Injuries Up as City Budgets Go Down

If your city is being forced to make cutbacks, it may be choosing to cut back on your safety. And as evidenced by the number of tree fall injuries in recent years, New York City, it seems, is doing just that.

In the last 10 years, there have been 10 lawsuits in New York City stemming from fallen trees. A detailed look at the city's budget shows a decrease in the number of man hours spent inspecting, repairing and pruning city trees.

This situation isn't unique to the Big Apple. There have been other recent tree fall injuries in Florida and Oregon.

Rattlesnake Bites Man in Walmart Garden Center

When Washington resident Mica Craig headed to the Clarkston Walmart on Friday, he was only looking to pick up some mulch for his medical marijuana growing business. Unfortunately, he also ended up leaving with a rattlesnake bite.

The 47-year-old was out in the parking lot garden center when he came upon the Walmart rattlesnake, according to KIRO radio. He bent down to pick up a stick, but when that stick bit his hand, he realized it was a snake. He then started "screaming bloody murder."

The Banzai Splash inflatable slide is being recalled after reports of severe injuries and one death. Lawsuits are likely, as the federal agency that oversees recalls points to an alleged defect.

The inflatable slide recall affects 21,000 Banzai Splash slides, which were made by Manley Toys and sold nationwide at Walmart and Toys "R" Us between January 2005 and June 2009, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

When the inflatable slide is hooked up to a garden hose, it becomes a water slide that's meant to propel users into an in-ground swimming pool. But the slide can deflate, and has caused very serious injuries, the CPSC said in its recall alert.

Crew members on a Princess Cruise Lines ship violated maritime law by failing to rescue three stranded fishermen -- two of whom later died at sea, a lawsuit by the surviving fisherman claims.

Adrian Vasquez, 18, of Panama, is suing Princess Cruise Lines for negligence, along with intentional or reckless omission by its crew, UK's The Guardian reports.

Sightseers on board a Princess cruise spotted the three stranded fishermen frantically waving for help and alerted Princess crew members, Vazquez's lawsuit asserts. But the cruise ship did not stop, nor did the crew take any action to help, the suit claims.

Man Jailed for Identical Twin Brother's Crime

What would you do if you were jailed for your twin's crime? Sue? That's what Mitch Torbett of Signal Mountain, Tenn. is doing. And he probably won't win.

Torbett was recently arrested while applying for a local construction permit. When authorities ran his driver's license, they realized he had a federal warrant out for his arrest. He tried to explain that the warrant was really for his identical twin brother, Mike, who has been dead for two years.

He spent 36 hours in jail until the FBI cleared things up.

Ride the Ducks Boat Crash Deaths Settled for $17M

Just days after opening arguments, the families of two tourists killed in the 2010 Philadelphia Ride the Ducks boat crash have agreed to settle their wrongful death suit for $15 million. The Ride the Ducks settlement also includes $2 million to be split between 18 other people who were injured.

The monies will be paid by Ride the Ducks and K-Sea Transportation Partners, which is responsible for the barge that struck the tourist boat. K-Sea's first mate had been on his cell phone and laptop during the crash and was unable to see the duck boat, which had been improperly stopped in the middle of the river.

FL Teacher Makes Kids Wear 'Cone of Shame'

Florida high school teacher Laurie Bailey-Cutkomp is under fire this week for making her students wear a "cone of shame." The plastic cone, also known as an Elizabethan collar, is traditionally placed around an animal's neck to prevent it from licking wounds.

At least eight of her 9th grade students wore the cone of shame during April, according to the Tampa Bay Times. She told district officials that she thought it would be a good way to "redirect student behavior."

Enzyte Fraud Victims to Get $24M in Payback

"Smilin' Bob" isn't going to be smiling anymore. The U.S. Justice Department has released $24 million to pay Enzyte fraud victims, the Associated Press reports.

The money comes from Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals founder Steve Warshak and 10 other company executives. Warshak was convicted in 2008 for fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy in connection to the sale of BPN's products. Chief among them was Enzyte, the supposed male sexual performance enhancer.

Victims could be looking to get a lot of money back. But it's important to note that payments aren't being given out in the way most people may be used to with class actions. Victims are being paid back by way of remission -- and there's a definite difference.

A New Jersey ironworker who fell into a vat of acid is recovering after co-workers performed a courageous rescue, a fire chief said.

Martin Davis, 44, was on the roof of a metal tube manufacturing plant in Clifton, N.J., when he somehow fell through the roof and plunged 40 feet into a tank of nitric acid Monday morning, The Record reports.

Davis was fully submerged in the acid. Clifton’s fire chief initially said a co-worker had jumped into the vat to save Davis, but the reluctant acid-vat hero was a bit more modest.

Tenants Sue Over Armed Foreclosure Evictions

Nine Sacramento, Calif., condo tenants are suing over an armed foreclosure eviction, Courthouse News Service reports.

The residents claim guards working for Paladin Protection Services burst into their homes at 3 a.m. armed with Tasers. Tenants were still in their underwear when guards forced them into the street. The security staff occupied the building for about two hours before leaving, residents said. In addition to Tasers, the private security officers also allegedly threatened tenants with arrest and accused them of being squatters.

Residents were eventually allowed back into their units. So why were they kicked out to begin with?

A heavy metal band's lead singer says he was rocked by food poisoning while on tour. Now he's suing a California company over a recalled sushi product that allegedly made him sick.

"Everything tasted great," Chris Fronzak, 22, of the band Attila told UPI about his meal at a Louisiana sushi restaurant last month. "The amount of sushi I got was insane. Little did I know, it gave me Salmonella."

Within 36 hours, Fronzak says he suffered severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. He was treated at a Missouri hospital — and racked up $10,000 in medical bills — before his illness was linked to a nationwide Salmonella sushi outbreak, UPI reports.

Southwest Airlines Sued Over 'Customers of Size' Policy

Kenlie Tiggeman, one of the many individuals who have been told they were too fat to fly on Southwest Airlines, has filed a lawsuit against the company. Last May, a gate agent asked her weight and clothing size, demanding that she buy a second seat before being allowed on the plane.

The "too fat to fly" lawsuit alleges that Southwest employees "did not follow their company policy and chose to discriminate, humiliate and harass" Tiggeman. She also asserts that the airline takes "discriminatory actions ... toward obese customers."

UVA Lacrosse Lawsuit: Mom Sues School for $29M

The University of Virginia lacrosse murder has turned into a UVA lacrosse lawsuit. The mother of Yeardley Love, the lacrosse player killed by ex-boyfriend and fellow lacrosse player George Huguely, has filed a $29 million lawsuit against the state, the school, the team's coaches and the athletics director.

The wrongful death suit accuses the group of ignoring George Huguely's erratic behavior. Coaches and administrators knew that he abused alcohol and exhibited aggressive behavior towards women, but did nothing to stop him or get him help.

Do Mesothelioma Victims Deserve Better?

Malignant mesothelioma is a horrific disease that often leaves victims with little medical recourse other than a slow death. John Johnson had the disease. And his legal struggles show that mesothelioma victims deserve better.

Johnson, 69, was a marine. Since 1961 he worked as a carpenter, mechanic, and plumber. Any of his jobs could've exposed him to the asbestos that likely caused his disease, the Los Angeles Times reports. So he sued 65 companies for compensation.

At the end, Johnson put off his medical appointments to wage his legal battle. Where did he collapse?

An after-market seat on a BMW motorcycle allegedly led to a biker's bizarre medical condition: an erection that's lasted two long years.

Henry Wolf is suing BMW of North America and Corbin-Pacific Inc., the maker of his after-market seat, in a product liability lawsuit filed in San Francisco, USA Today reports.

After a four-hour bike ride in May 2010, Wolf claims the motorcycle's "ridge-like seat" gave him a "severe case of priapism (a persistent lasting erection)," his lawsuit states.

Pit Bull Owners Now Liable for Attacks

Maryland pit bull owners will now be liable for attacks by their dogs, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled.

The decision stemmed from a 2009 pit bull mauling case in the state. A 4-year-old boy in Prince George's county was critically injured after a pit bull attacked him. Though he survived, the assault caused severe damage to his face and one of his eyes. And after a lengthy court battle, it looks like he and his family have won.

But how far does this ruling go and what does it mean for current and future Maryland pit bull owners?

DEA Left Daniel Chong to Drink Urine in Cell

San Diego engineering student Daniel Chong has received an apology from the Drug Enforcement Agency. DEA agents accidentally left Chong in a cell for five days without food or water, the Associated Press reports.

Chong, 24, had to drink his own urine in order to survive the ordeal. At one point he also bit into his glasses and used the shards to scratch "Sorry Mom" on his arm. The University of California, San Diego student was swept up with nine suspect in a "4/20" drug raid that seized 18,000 ecstasy pills and other narcotics. Chong was never arrested and was supposed to be released, according to the Associated Press.

However, DEA agents forgot about him. And their actions could prove very costly.

DSK Denied Diplomatic Immunity in Civil Suit

Former International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has lost his latest attempt to rid himself of all pending U.S. litigation. A New York judge has denied DSK diplomatic immunity in a civil suit brought by the hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault in May 2011.

The judge refused to dismiss the suit, finding that the organization head was not in New York on official business at the time. The suit was also filed months after he resigned from his post.

Does this decision have you wondering about the law of diplomatic immunity? Let's take a look.

Bronx Zoo Crash Site Had Low Guardrails, Experts Say

As officials continue to investigate Sunday's fatal Bronx Zoo crash, startling information about the crash site is surfacing. Amongst that information is the fact that the small stretch of the Bronx River Parkway, which runs nearly six stories above a ravine, has been listed as one of New York's most dangerous roads.

The elevated roadway has been the site of numerous crashes in the past three decades, including one earlier this year. Though some repairs have been made, motorists still remain protected only by a 4 foot barrier. Experts agree that it needs to be much higher.

Bicyclist's Hit-and-Run Video Leads to Arrest

A bicyclist's hit-and-run video has led to the suspected driver's arrest.

Michael Patrick Medaglia, 42, of Oakland was arrested last week in connection with a Berkeley, Calif. hit-and-run video posted on YouTube. The video was recorded with a mounted bike cam by "Bruno," one of the cyclists. It shows a black car drifting into the bicycle lane and clipping Bruno and another bicyclist. The car then speeds off.

Medaglia, the car's owner, has been booked on suspicion of felony hit and run. But that might not be the end of his legal troubles.

Girl, 14, Sues Bullies Over Fake Facebook Profile

One day last year, Alex Boston, 14, walked into her Georgia school a normal teenage girl. But soon, things would change. Her classmates were making rude comments and staring. She didn't know what was going on.

As it turns out, two of her classmates had created a fake Facebook profile in her name. They doctored photos and implied that she smoked pot; they made obscene and racist comments on other friends' pages.

Unable to end the cyberbullying, Boston has now filed a libel lawsuit against her classmates and their parents.