Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

August 2012 Archives

An exploding toilet lawsuit seeks to flush out at least $5 million from the makers of the Flushmate III, an allegedly defective product that's caused more than a dozen injuries.

Among the worst of the reported injuries, a 26-year-old man claims he was sitting on his toilet when it unexpectedly exploded.

"I required dozens of stitches for an extremely deep wound because of the exploding porcelain," the man reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The report, posted online, includes pictures of his injury.

Boy Sues Dentist for 11 Years of Braces

Is it dental malpractice to leave a patient's braces on for 11 years? Devin Bost and his lawyer surely think so. That's why they filed suit on Friday.

Bost claims he was just 7 when his orthodontist, Dr. Brad Chvatal, put braces on him for the first time. Those braces stayed in place until he was 18 years old. At that he got a 'frantic' call from the orthodontist office to come in and get the braces off, according to the complaint.

For his 11 years of trouble, Bost is asking for $150,000 for pain and suffering, plus $35,100 in dental expenses.

Wait, wasn't he a kid when he got the braces?

Rodents are to blame for two campers' Yosemite virus deaths, and as many as 1,700 other Yosemite National Park visitors may have been exposed to the virus, officials said Tuesday.

"I know they are actively trying to notify people," the public health director for the National Park Service told the Associated Press. Still, the park service could face potential claims and lawsuits.

The two deceased victims contracted hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a disease caused by a virus that's carried in the saliva, urine, and droppings of infected rodents.

Victims of Friday's Empire State Building shooting may soon sue the NYPD, after police confirmed all nine bystanders were hit by police gunfire, Reuters reports.

But it's not entirely clear how the bystanders' potential legal claims will fare in court.

In Friday's incident, a man fired from his job a year ago shot and killed an ex-coworker on a busy Manhattan sidewalk before pointing his weapon at police officers. The officers opened fire.

Who's Liable for a School Field Trip Injury?

The weather is nice and your child's school may be setting up a field trip to the local zoo or amusement park. While these trips can be both educational and fun, these jaunts away from school can also be ripe for field trip injuries.

So what happens if your son is bitten by a goat at a petting zoo? Or your daughter falls off the Ferris wheel at the park? These injuries have happened, and they can lead to legal liability.

Both schools and the business can be held responsible for your child's injuries. However, you should also be aware of the effect of waivers of liability.

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits, Verdicts Hit Nationwide

The first transvaginal mesh implant lawsuit has reached a verdict in California and the outcome looks good for plaintiffs.

Many women claim to have suffered injury due to transvaginal mesh implants used to treat pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence. This initial trial was intended to gauge the value of these claims on a large scale. From that, the industry can determine how much each case is likely to cost.

If the California case is any indicator, these cases will cost a lot.

Tyler Madoff's Family Sues HI Tour Company

Tyler Madoff was pulled out to sea back in July while he was on a hiking tour in Hawaii. Now his parents have filed a lawsuit against the tour company for wrongful death.

Madoff's disappearance made headlines after he was pulled out to sea by a tidal wave. He was participating in a hiking and kayaking trip with Bold Earth Adventures and Hawaii Pack and Paddle.

He hasn't been seen since he was swept out to sea. His parents are claiming his death was caused by the tour's negligence.

NJ Little Leaguer Gets $14.5M for Baseball Injury

Steven Domalewski's life was changed after a Little League game where he was struck by a ball hit hard off a metal bat.

The accident happened in 2006, when Domalewski was 12 years old. Now at age 18 he's only just getting compensation.

The young man's family sued the bat manufacturer, a sporting goods chain, and the Little League organization for the injuries he suffered. The case settled on Wednesday for a sizable amount.

Fan Sues Dallas Cowboys for Burned Butt

A Texas woman has brought an interesting lawsuit against the Dallas Cowboys, suing the team and owner Jerry Jones for allegedly burning her butt.

Jennelle Carrillo received severe burns to her butt after allegedly sitting on a bench outside Cowboys Stadium, reports CBS. In her lawsuit, the woman says that the incident occurred in August 2010 during the Cowboys' Blue & Silver scrimmage game.

Carrillo says that temperatures at the time were well over 100 degrees. And after sitting on the bench, Carrillo says that she suffered third-degree burns that required skin grafts.

Is Tough Mudder's Death Waiver Legal?

There's a good chance you've heard of the Tough Mudder, one of the most popular adventure races in the country. If you've tried it then you're all too familiar with the paperwork required to participate including the death waiver.

That's right; the waiver includes a release of liability for death, not just injury.

Adventure races like the Tough Mudder involve running a course full of obstacles that include lots of mud. It's fun and intense and there is legitimately a risk of injury.

But can they really enforce a waiver in the event of death?

Alaska Tourist Boat Runs Aground, 76 Rescued

One hundred years after the RMS Titanic sank, an Alaskan boat rescue was needed in Glacier Bay after a sightseeing vessel ran aground in the frigid waters off Alaska.

Seventy-six people needed to be rescued from the boat after the ship struck ground and started to fill with water, reports Reuters.

Fortunately for the passengers of the Baranof Wind, the boat owners and ship captain apparently had the proper safety measures in place and all the passengers were rescued with no major injuries reported. The ship was even saved and will be towed back to shore.

Yosemite Deaths: Boy, 10, Drowns in Merced River

Another Yosemite death has hit the famous but dangerous national park. A ten-year-old boy drowned after reportedly being pulled into the Merced River. The search is still on for his six-year-old brother, now presumed to be dead as well.

National Park Service officials said Andres "Andy" Adams died and his brother Jacob was presumed dead, though the search continued, the Associated Press reports. Their mother Char-Lee Hargis Adams of Yorba Linda was hurt trying to save them.

The ten-year-old is the third drowning victim of the year at Yosemite National Park. It's the second time in just over a year that a tragedy has befallen members of a church during an outing to the deceptively treacherous Merced River. This drowning follows the drowning of three people at a nearby spot along the same trail last year, reports CNN.

Intern Injured in Chimp Attack Can't Sue

A chimp attack four years ago cost Kristin Howard most of her left thumb but the Oregon Court of Appeals recently ruled that she has no right to sue.

Howard was less than two weeks into her internship at Chimps Inc. when she was attacked by a chimp named Kimie. Chimps Inc. is a private sanctuary for chimpanzees who previously worked in some form of entertainment.

Howard's injury is real but the court still said she can't file suit, even for her medical bills.

The reason? She signed a liability waiver.

Woman Falls Out of Shower Down 15-Foot Shaft

A San Diego woman fell out of a shower, though a window, and down a 15-foot shaft.

The woman survived the ordeal and was rescued by emergency crews who pried her through the bathroom window of the apartment unit below her unit.

The woman was not identified and is reported to be in her 50s. Police believe that alcohol or drugs may have played a role in the accident, which may have been beneficial in relaxing the woman and preventing serious injury, reports San Diego 10 News.

A frat party lawsuit against the University of Idaho has been dismissed, but parents of a woman severely injured at the party have other legal options to pursue.

Amanda Andaverde, then 19, suffered a traumatic brain injury and broken bones when she fell from an upper-story window at a fraternity house during a party in 2009, the Associated Press reports.

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat house was off-campus and privately owned. But a lawyer for Andaverde's parents blamed the university for causing the woman's injuries.

Volvo Made Me Look Like an Escort, Model Claims

Model Carolyn Giles is suing Ford Models, Volvo, and Hertz for $23 million for allegedly misappropriating her image in ads.

Giles claims that a former boyfriend living in Argentina spotted her image on a Hertz ad in that country. After a little bit of research, Giles discovered that Volvo had used her image in ads for different car models in 30 different countries, reports the New York Daily News. In addition, Giles claims Hertz was also using her image.

Perhaps most appalling to Giles was a Volvo ad she found that she claims portrayed her as a Swedish adult escort. In an image on a website called "Fast Impressions," there is a picture of Giles coming out of a Volvo with the caption reading, "Rev Up Your Love Life," reports the Daily News.

Disneyland Banned Muslim Woman's Head Scarf: Lawsuit

Disneyland can expect a lawsuit from former employee, Imane Boudlal, for their alleged refusal to let her wear her hijab, a Muslim head scarf, in front of customers.

Boudlal worked at 'the happiest place on earth' in California for two and a half years until late 2010. When she began wearing her hijab to work, management told her to take it off, work where customers couldn't see her, or go home.

That was two years ago. After the incident Boudlal filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Last week they sent her a 'notice of right-to-sue.'

School Liability Waivers: What a Parent Signs Away

School liability waivers are so common that most parents sign them without thinking twice. They come up during sports, field trips, and other extracurricular activities where school officials are in charge.

Not signing the waiver means your child can't participate in the activity. Most parents consider that too unfair given the presumably low-risk of most activities.

But signing the waiver doesn't mean you have no legal recourse if something goes wrong.

CJ the chimp is leaving Las Vegas, a move that was expedited by the animal's escape on Saturday -- her second escape in a month.

CJ, a female chimpanzee, and her mate Buddy both escaped from their enclosure in a residential neighborhood in July. Police shot and killed Buddy when he got dangerously close to spectators, and took CJ down with a tranquilizer dart, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Saturday's escape also ended with a tranquilizer dart. Though no humans were hurt, one of CJ's caretakers says a human may have helped the chimp escape.

Is Corporal Punishment Legal in School?

Corporal punishment in school is still legal in 19 states which may come as a surprise depending on where in country you live.

Most of the states that permit school corporal punishment are in the South or the Midwest and they all have specific regulations about how physical punishment works.

Still, just because some physical punishment is legal, doesn't mean all of it is. If you live in a state that permits corporal punishment in schools, a teacher who hits your child could still be liable for assault.

How to Deal With School Bullying

School bullying happens to a lot of kids but the serious consequences of bullying have spurred lawmakers to respond to the crisis.

Anti-bullying laws now exist in almost every state which gives parents greater recourse if their child is bullied. But the law is only as good as its enforcement. If you don't know what your rights are then it's difficult to protect yourself and your children in the event of bullying.

The laws aren't necessarily complicated. You just need to know what they are.

Mom Sues Over Breastfeeding Video on Porn Sites

When MaryAnn Sahoury agreed to do a breastfeeding education video she never dreamed the clip would end up on porn sites or that it would force her to file a lawsuit.

Two years ago the new mother agreed to appear in the video about how to breastfeed. She was told that the video would air on Parents magazine's website and that they would only use her first name.

But a Google search a few months after shooting the video told Sahoury that she had been exposed.

Nashville Predators Sued Over Hockey Stunt

A Nashville radio personality has brought a lawsuit against the Nashville Predators for a hockey stunt gone wrong.

Adam "Intern Adam" Davis filed the lawsuit against the hockey team claiming that he was seriously injured last December when he was invited to take part in the "human hockey puck" stunt.

Davis is suing the team for $25,000 for medical bills. He says he broke his ankle when he was shot across the rink in a giant slingshot directly into a wall, reports The Associated Press.

Rick's Cabaret Sued by Family of Teen Killed by Drunk Driver

A drunk driver killed Katherine "Emily" Jones in 2011 but now her family is suing the strip club that served the driver.

The driver was drinking at Rick's Cabaret the night of the accident and the family alleges that their policies encouraged over-serving. Entertainers were required to pay a nightly 'house charge' to keep their jobs which was paid by selling drinks to earn 'credits', according to the Lanier Law Firm.

The policy allegedly makes it a benefit to sell more drinks even if customers are already intoxicated. If that's true, Rick's Cabaret could be in legal trouble.

In the aftermath of a fatal shooting, wrongful death lawsuits often follow. How do such lawsuits work, when a victim (and perhaps even the shooter) is dead?

Laws in every state allow for civil wrongful-death lawsuits when a person's death was due to the negligence or deliberate acts of another person or entity. For example, relatives of two victims in the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings won $8 million in a wrongful-death suit that alleged negligence by the school.

Recent mass shootings at a movie theater in Colorado and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin may also lead to wrongful death suits. In general, here's what plaintiffs will have to prove:

Trayvon Martin's Mom Sued by Traveler's Insurance Co.

Trayvon Martin's mom, Sybrina Fulton, has been sued by Traveler's Insurance Company in a dispute over whether the insurance company is responsible for damages over her son's death.

Fulton made an insurance claim against Traveler's for about $75,000, reports The Washington Post. The insurance company had a policy with the homeowners' association at the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Fla., where Trayvon Martin was killed, agreeing to cover the costs of certain injuries.

But instead of paying out Fulton's claim, Traveler's filed a lawsuit against Fulton so that a court would step in and clarify just what damages it owes, if any.

A mother's water balloon lawsuit seeks $75,000 from her daughter's New York school district for a senior prank gone wrong.

Stacy Katz of New Hampshire claims an upperclassman at John Jay High School in Lewisboro, N.Y., threw a water balloon at her daughter, hitting her in the left ear and rupturing her eardrum. The impact allegedly caused bleeding and hearing loss, the local Journal News reports.

Though a student allegedly hurled the water balloon, the school district should be held liable because of its negligence, Katz's lawsuit asserts.

An Indiana State Fair settlement could allow victims of last summer's Sugarland stage collapse to split a proposed $13.2 million payout, the Associated Press reports.

As of last week, 51 of 62 victims or their survivors had accepted the public-private settlement offer, according to the AP. But not everyone was happy with it.

As with many settlements, claimants faced a significant legal choice in whether to accept the Indiana State Fair settlement offer.

Did U of Colorado Have a Duty to Warn about Holmes?

The legal duty to warn has come to the forefront as more information has come out about James Holmes in the aftermath of the Colorado shooting.

Lynne Fenton, the therapist treating Holmes prior to the shooting, was alarmed enough by his behavior to alert the University of Colorado's threat assessment committee. The committee chose not to pursue the issue because Holmes had recently dropped out.

Now that decision looks like it may have been incorrect.

Spinal Surgery Spoils NY Woman's Lawsuit

Spinal surgery has caused a New York woman to lose a personal injury lawsuit. A judge ruled that her elective surgery actually destroyed evidence in a case related to alleged injuries from a car accident.

Susanna Mangione was involved in a car accident in 2009 while riding in a taxi cab. She sued both the cab driver and the driver of the other car for her injuries, but her suit was thrown out of court on Tuesday.

This issue had not previously been considered in New York, according to Justice Charles Markey, so the facts are especially important for determining future application.

Is it Time for Universal Motorcycle Helmet Laws?

Motorcycle helmet laws exist in most states but not all of them make wearing a helmet a universal requirement for motorcyclists.

States with those laws also see increased helmet use and that keeps riders safe, according to a new study by the CDC. Helmets prevent serious injury and fatality in a significant number of motorcycle accidents, both for drivers and passengers.

But riders aren't necessarily embracing universal helmet laws. Push-back is parlty due to an aversion to government interference in what is seen as personal business.

Is this a case of Big Brother or do states have a legitimate reason for wanting universal helmet laws?

The 5 States with Highest Rate of Injury Deaths

A comparative study of the injury rates in different states published in May could have an impact on safety laws across the country.

The study, performed by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, looked at overall injury rates in each state. Injury is the leading cause of death among people aged 1 to 44 and the third highest cause of death overall. With numbers like that, it's important to keep yourself injury free.

The study also looked at whether states had implemented any of the 10 most important injury-prevention measures identified by top injury-prevention experts, reports USA Today.

No state has yet approved every measure but some states have implemented as many as nine. Then again, other states put only a few into practice.