Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

July 2014 Archives

Doctor Sued Over 'Cocaine Nose' Photos Posted Online

A Chicago plastic surgeon is being sued by a former patient after allegedly posting before-and-after pictures of the woman's nasal reconstruction surgery on his website and labeling them "cocaine nose."

Sabrina Kopp claims that when she underwent facial surgery in 2004, her plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Walton took photographs of her face with the understanding that they would be part of her secure medical records, reports the Chicago Tribune. However, when the doctor opened a new clinic in 2013, the images of her procedure were posted on the clinic's website as an example of "cocaine nose."

What is "cocaine nose" and what laws might the doctor have broken by posting the pictures on his website?

Paying for a Personal Injury Lawyer: 3 Things to Know About Fees

If you've been injured and are seeking legal help, the last thing you want is to get stuck with a huge bill for attorney's fees. Luckily, personal injury attorneys have wide array of payment structures, some of which entail you paying nothing at all.

So stop seeing red on attorney's fees. Make sure you remember these three things about paying a personal injury attorney:

Ex-Minn. Gov. Jesse Ventura Wins $1.8M in Defamation Suit

Jesse "The Body" Ventura has emerged victorious in court, to the tune of $1.8 million in a defamation case against "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.

The former pro wrestler-turned-Minnesota governor sued Kyle for publishing an anecdote in his book. Kyle claimed he "decked" Ventura after hearing him say that the Navy SEALs "deserve to lose a few," reports St. Paul's KSTP-TV. Before his death in 2013, Kyle denied that he fabricated the story, but a jury may have believed otherwise.

How did Ventura squeeze $1.8 million out of this defamation suit?

Botched or Wrong-Site Surgery Lawsuits: 3 Legal Questions

Sometimes incredibly strange and terrible results emerge from a surgery, leaving victims of botched or wrong-site procedures with many questions.

One such victim was Carol Critchfield, a California woman who allegedly lived with a small surgical sponge lodged inside her small intestine for four years, causing her daily pain and even more surgery, reports Los Angeles' KCBS-TV. She's now suing a hospital for malpractice.

If you're concerned about being the victim of a botched surgery, here are some legal questions you should be aware of:

5 Things You Should Bring to a Personal Injury Consultation

You've already scheduled a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. So what should you do to prepare for your meeting?

While you should leave the legal research to your lawyer and his or her staff, there are several things you can and should, if at all possible, bring to the table to ensure your consultation goes smoothly.

Here are five things you'll want to bring to your personal injury consultation:

Who's Liable for Waterpark Injuries?

Waterparks are a great way to cool off during the summer, but they can also leave you with serious injuries.

Slip-and-fall injuries, heat-related illnesses, and even drownings can occur at waterparks. And while it hasn't caused any injuries yet, the world's tallest water slide -- a 168-foot-tall slide set to open at a park in Kansas City (here's video of a test run shared by io9) -- made some of us wonder about potential liability issues (though the net makes us feel a bit more safe).

So if you're hurt at a waterpark, who can potentially be held liable?

Johns Hopkins Settlement: 3 Things Patients Should Know

Johns Hopkins Hospital has agreed to settle with thousands of patients over claims that a gynecologist secretly recorded office visits for years.

The class-action suit has more than 9,000 plaintiffs and accuses Johns Hopkins of being responsible for the recording and inappropriate behaviors of former Hopkins gynecologist Nikita Levy. The Los Angeles Times reports that Levy is alleged to have used hidden cameras during pelvic exams, including a camera pen he carried.

Worried about your privacy? Here are three things patients should know about the Hopkins settlement:

NYC Settles Inmate-Homicide Lawsuit for $2.75M

New York City has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that guards at Rikers Island jail beat a man to death.

The civil suit, brought by the family of 52-year-old Ronald Spear, follows a city medical examiner's ruling that Spear's death was a homicide. The district attorney's office declined to press criminal charges against the guards alleged to have administered the fatal beating, reports the New York Daily News.

Why did the city settle, and how do you sue for prison abuses?

$23.6B Verdict Against RJ Reynolds: 5 Things You Should Know

Cigarette manufacturer RJ Reynolds has been slapped with a $23.6 billion jury verdict, with more than 99 percent of the vast sum made up by punitive damages.

Putting it mildly, juries' love affair with tobacco companies has cooled in the last few decades, but it's still surprising to see a jury want to punish RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company this much. Plaintiff's attorney Willie Gary told the Pensacola News Journal that jurors "wanted to make a difference" after hearing how RJ Reynolds and others "lied and failed to disclose information that could have saved lives."

We certainly aren't blowing smoke; here are five things to know about this huge verdict against RJ Reynolds:

When Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?

When can you sue for "pain and suffering" damages?

Damages are an important part of a personal injury case; after all, if there's no "injury," then there's no certainly no personal injury case.

But along with damages for economic losses such as medical bills, damages to property, or lost wages, personal injury suits can also sometimes include damages for "pain and suffering," which place a monetary value on both past and future physical and mental pain suffered by a plaintiff. Here's a general overview as to how this works:

5 Personal Injury Lessons From Disney Lawsuits

Today marks 59 years of operation for Disneyland, which opened its doors July 17, 1955. But over the ensuing six decades, the "Happiest Place on Earth" has been the setting for many personal injury lawsuits.

In fact, over a five-year period from 2007 to 2012, Disneyland was sued for personal injuries nearly 140 times, according to a review of court records.

Still, not all of those lawsuits were successful. Here are five lessons that can be learned from Disney's long list of personal injury lawsuits:

Parents Seek $1M From School After Bullied Boy's Suicide

The parents of a boy who committed suicide after an embarrassing video was posted online are seeking $1 million from his school district, alleging the school was culpable for their bullied son's treatment.

Matthew Burdette, 14, of San Diego, killed himself in November after an online video of the teen in a school bathroom stall went viral; the classmate who posted the video claimed Matthew was masturbating. San Diego's KGTV reports that Burdette's school knew about the incident, but the boy's parents didn't learn about it until well after their son had passed.

Is the school potentially liable for Burdette's death?

Does the Losing Party Always Have to Pay Attorney's Fees?

In many injury cases, the losing party is often saddled with paying the winning party's attorney's fees. But this isn't always the case.

In fact, it's often up to the court's discretion as to whether to award the prevailing party attorney's fees as part of his or her damages.

Let's look at some notable cases in which the losing party does -- and does not -- have to pay attorney's fees:

Tracy Morgan v. Walmart: 3 Tips for Truck Accident Lawsuits

Comedian Tracy Morgan has filed a lawsuit against Walmart, claiming the retailer should be held responsible for last month's accident in which a Walmart truck rammed into Morgan's bus, injuring three and killing one.

As Morgan pursues his negligence lawsuit against the company, what will likely be the key aspects of his case, and what lessons can be learned about truck accidents in general?

Here are three legal tips for plaintiffs in truck accident lawsuits:

Can You Back Out of a Settlement Agreement?

Can you back out of a settlement agreement? After agreeing to a settlement in your injury case, you may have a change of heart. Perhaps your medical bills have increased unexpectedly or the insurance policies involved are not enough to cover your treatment or recovery.

Courts may strike down settlement agreements that were reached through fraud or misrepresentation, or even when they feel the terms are unfair. But by and large, courts are likely to enforce these agreements.

So can you change your mind after settlement is reached?

Man's Fingertips Severed on Disney World Ride

A tourist's fingertips were severed after an accident on Walt Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean ride Thursday, with many legal questions yet to be answered.

The injured man, a UK resident whose name has not been released, lost the tips of his ring and pinky fingers on his right hand. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the injury occurred after the victim was holding on to the outside of the boat during the ride.

Was the man properly warned, and should Disney cover the damage?

Breastfeeding Mom Settles Complaint Against Barnes & Noble

A mom who was kicked out of a New York Barnes & Noble bookstore for refusing to cover herself while breastfeeding has settled her complaint with the Attorney General against the company.

A press release issued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office announced the terms of the deal, which include improved employee training at Barnes & Noble stores, a $10,000 donation to a local breastfeeding support group, and the posting of the international symbol for breastfeeding at the entrances of all New York Barnes & Noble locations.

What led to the settlement and what does New York law say about breastfeeding in public?

Bryan Stow Injury Verdict: 3 Things You Should Know

San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow has prevailed in his personal injury lawsuit against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Lawyers for Stow, who suffered brain damage after a brutal beating by two Dodgers fans at Dodger's Stadium on opening day in 2011, were able to show that the team's negligence was at least partially responsible for his injuries, Reuters reports.

So how much will Stow receive, and how much of that will be paid by the Dodgers? Here are three things you should know about the verdict:

Injured in a Park? Here's How to Sue

Parks are great places for a picnic or BBQ, but injuries can and do happen. Tree limbs can fall, children can drown in lakes, and poorly maintained grounds can provide various ways to trip and fall.

So if you're injured in a park, how do you sue? Here's a general overview:

5 Reasons You Shouldn't Wait to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you're injured, seeking medical treatment for your injuries is certainly the first priority. No less urgent, however: talking to a personal injury attorney.

Just as with medical treatment, people who have suffered injuries often wait until they feel it's absolutely necessary to talk to an attorney. But often with personal injury cases, as the saying goes: You snooze, you lose.

Here are five reasons why you shouldn't wait to call a personal injury attorney:

Can You Sue If Your Photo Is Used Without Your Permission?

Opening up a magazine or surfing the Web and unexpectedly seeing a picture yourself can certainly be surprising. And although some may be flattered by the extra exposure, some may be a little bit less than thrilled.

Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt was certainly not amused when she discovered a company called Slim Spray had been using a photo of her holding their product to promote its line of weight loss sprays without her permission. She's now taking the company to court.

So if you come across a photo of yourself being used in a way that you didn't agree to, what can you do about it? Here are three possible legal routes you may be able to take:

5 Fourth of July Injuries You Can Easily Prevent

The Fourth of July is a celebration of our nation's independence from colonial rule, and you shouldn't spend it in a hospital waiting room for easily preventable injuries.

The usual culprits of these July holiday injuries are often sources of great joy or entertainment: fireworks, grilled meats, pool parties, lake trips, etc.

So step away from your carefully seasoned marinade and check out these five Fourth of July injuries you can easily prevent:

Food Truck Explosion in Philadelphia Injures 12

A Philadelphia food truck exploded Tuesday afternoon, injuring 12 people, including a mother and daughter who were working inside.

The blast, captured on video by a nearby surveillance camera, is believed to have been caused by an exploding propane tank, reports Philadelphia's WCAU-TV. The two women working in the truck, a 42-year-old mother and her 17-year-old daughter, both suffered severe burns and are listed in critical condition.

What do witnesses say happened, and what legal questions are raised by this food truck explosion?

Ex-Tinder VP Sues Over Sexual Harassment

Ex-Tinder VP Whitney Wolfe is suing the dating-app company for sexual harassment, largely stemming from alleged mistreatment by co-founder Justin Mateen.

According to Reuters, Wolfe's sexual harassment suit has named IAC/InterActiveCorp, Tinder, and as defendants, alleging that executives removed her title as a co-founder because of her gender. Tinder is a popular dating app that attempts to romantically link users via their mobile devices.

What are Wolfe's sexual harassment claims against Tinder?

GM's Victim-Compensation Fund to Accept Claims Aug. 1

General Motors is setting up a compensation fund for victims and family members of those killed or injured as a result of defective ignition switches installed in the company's vehicles.

The defective ignition switches have so far been linked to at least 13 deaths and have led to the recall of millions of GM vehicles. The attorney in charge of the fund has already been presented with the names of 165 people whose families believe were killed in accidents caused by the defective switches, Reuters reports.

Here's an overview of how the fund will work and who will be eligible for compensation: