Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

December 2016 Archives

Ikea, the company known for affordable, flat-pack furniture that buyers must assemble themselves, has agreed to settle three wrongful death cases filed against it for $50 million. The three cases, filed in the state court in Pennsylvania, claim that the furniture maker was negligent in not manufacturing their dressers to meet industry standards, which resulted in the death of three toddlers (in three separate incidents) who were crushed when the dressers toppled over onto them.

Ikea has settled a few other lawsuits with similar claims over the last decade, and reports indicate that this may have been a known issue dating all the way back to 1989. All in all, there have been seven reported deaths due to unstable Ikea furniture.

The Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Nevada is facing a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of former patients that claim the hospital “dumped” them. Rawson-Neal is no stranger to these allegations and has faced lawsuits in the past over the practice. Additionally, it is estimated that Rawson-Neal has dumped nearly 1,500 patients by providing them one-way bus tickets to cities all across the country.

For those that don’t know, when a hospital involuntarily discharges a patient rather than continuing to provide the needed treatment or a referral and transportation to a more suitable facility, this is called dumping.

Frequently, the practice is done in such a way that puts the patients at high risk of harm, and even death. There are countless documented incidents where hospitals discharge patients by sending them to other cities on busses, or simply dropping them off in another county on the side of the road. It is rather common that when a patient is dumped, they will end up homeless and in need of much more care than they would normally have required.

Considering our holiday shopping lists, this might be the busiest time of year for parking lots. And considering the weather, the amount of traffic, and the opportunism of criminals, this might also be when parking lots are at their most dangerous.

Here's a look at the legal liability for parking lots and stores for slip-and-fall injuries, car accidents, and criminal activity:

On December 2, 2016, tragedy struck at a warehouse that had been illegally converted into a mixed-use residential and workspace for artists. During a dance party event that was taking place on the second floor of what is being described as a labyrinth-esque warehouse space, a fire broke out on the first floor. Due to the way the interior structure had been built, every person who attended the event was trapped on the second floor as the fire consumed the building, eventually causing the roof to collapse, and killing 36 people.

The aftermath of the fire, apart from the intense grief of those who lost loved ones and friends, is shaping up to be a legal quagmire. The first two wrongful death lawsuits were recently filed, and each names a rather long list of defendants, including the building’s owners, as well as the individual who held the lease on the building, and the owners of the neighboring buildings that were supplying power and other resources to the warehouse. Additionally, the individual who was promoting the event was named. Several local government entities are expected to be named in the lawsuit as well, once the administrative requirements of the California Tort Claims Act are satisfied.

Plastic surgeons, like any other doctor, can be held liable for medical malpractice if their treatment and care for a patient results in injury. But what if their treatment simply results in an unhappy customer? If the nose job, lipo, face lift, or tummy tuck doesn't result in harm but also doesn't meet the doctor's promises or patient's standards, does a displeased patient have any legal recourse?

The terms "breach of contract" and "breach of warranty" are normally limited to the business world of commerce and consumer sales. But they may be useful legal jargon when it comes to suing a plastic surgeon for poor results.

Plastic surgery, like any other surgery, has its attendant risks. If something goes wrong, then a person may be considering taking legal action. However, whether or not to file a lawsuit over a plastic surgery gone wrong should be carefully considered.

Cases against medical professionals are complex and nuanced, and are often subject to shorter deadlines than other types of cases, so seeking legal advice as soon as possible is recommended if you think you have a case. The following plastic surgery lawsuit questions might help point you in the right direction.

When USA Today published leaked rankings of Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers, the VA hospital in Nashville was at the bottom of the list in quality of care. Now that hospital is at the center of a wrongful death suit after a 26-year-old veteran died from a treatable condition.

Aaron Merritt was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the Nashville VA Medical Center in January 2014, and died less than ten months later after doctors failed to monitor his reaction to prescribed medication. Merritt's parents are now suing the hospital and the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System for negligence in their son's death.

Jake Anderson was celebrating his first year as a freshman at the University of Minnesota until the early hours of a December morning in 2013. Six or seven hours later, first responders found Anderson in a hypothermic state face down, slumped over a rail along the Mississippi River near Minneapolis.

Anderson had "no pulse and no breathing and was frozen, indicating obvious death" according to a report from the fire officials that found him, but his parents don't think rescuers did enough to revive their son. Now the Andersons are suing first responders, including police, fire, and medical center personnel, claiming they are liable for wrongful death.

When an individual is under the care of a hospital or nursing home and ends up with a bedsore, also known as a pressure sore, that usually means something is amiss. If the individual is not conscious, or immobile, or otherwise unable to appreciate the gravity of their confined-to-a-bed situation, a hospital or nursing home could very well be liable for bedsores.

Bedsores can vary in severity, but are generally caused by the prolonged application of the pressure of the weight of the body on the skin and tissue. Bedsores do not occur if a person is carefully monitored, regularly repositioned, and provided with the proper care or resources, even when they are at risk.

Cases of molestation or sexual assault by a doctor are especially heinous. These cases are just as shocking when a teacher, pastor, or police officer commits a similar act. What makes these types of crimes so bad is the violation of the public trust, as well as the likelihood of there being multiple victims.

Unfortunately, these types of crimes occur all too often. Just this past week, a California doctor was arrested for allegedly assaulting multiple patients.

Winter has come, which means snowy sidewalks, icy highways, and a whole host of winter weather-related injury risks. Not only should you be concerned with keeping yourself safe out there, but you could be liable for someone else's injuries if you allow adverse weather conditions make your property dangerous or detract from your driving ability.

No one wants a lawsuit on their hands to ruin their holidays, so here are five seasonal injury risks, and how to avoid them.

A cyclist in La Jolla, California, will be receiving a $235,000 settlement after filing a lawsuit over injuries she sustained as a result of hitting a pothole while cycling. This was no ordinary pothole though, as it measured approximately 3 inches deep and 15 inches wide. The cyclist, Cathleen Summerford, injured her head, pelvis and lower back after hitting the pothole and flipping over her handlebars.

One critical fact in this case was that the City and County of San Diego, where La Jolla is located, had been provided with multiple complaints about potholes on the roadway that Ms. Summerford was injured on. As such, because the city had knowledge of the road conditions, a negligence case could be established.

A Washington, DC attorney has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Washington Metro system. The lawsuit stems from the injury the attorney suffered as a result of a pipe falling from the ceiling and hitting him in the head last year. The attorney then stumbled onto the escalator from the below ground platform, and was escalated above ground, where he received help.

Unfortunately for the WMTA, the attorney is employed at a large law firm which has taken on the job of representing their employee. While the $50 million in claimed damages may seem high, for a Harvard Law grad that had a starting salary of $200,000, who is no longer able to work, and may require a lifetime of medical treatment/care, it could actually be low.

Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that refers to a number of disorders affecting a baby's brain function and body movement, caused by an injury or lack of oxygen flow to a baby's brain in the womb, during delivery, or sometime after birth. While in some cases there may be no way to tell how or why the injury occurred, in others injury or lack of oxygen could be the result of negligence by the treating physician or obstetrician.

If that's the case, obstetricians may be liable for birth injuries like cerebral palsy. Here's what you need to know.

Car Accident Injury Lawsuit FAQ

When an auto accident results in an injury, the injury victim may be able to file a lawsuit depending on how the accident happened. Generally, whoever is at-fault for the car accident will be legally liable to the injured person.

Before a lawsuit is filed, frequently the at-fault party’s insurance carrier may want to try to negotiate a settlement. If settlement negotiations fail, then it may be time to file a lawsuit. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about car accident injury lawsuits.

An Oregon man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both the driver that hit him and his father as they crossed the street on foot, as well as the bar that served the driver alcohol on that night. The father was killed after being struck, landing on the roof, then being thrown off the roof a mile down the road. The son survived after medical treatment including surgery.

While the accident was initially hit and run, law enforcement was able to track down the driver. The driver pled guilty and received an eight year sentence. The lawsuit alleges that the driver was negligent in controlling her vehicle and that the bar where she was drinking was negligent in serving her alcohol while she was visibly intoxicated.

Rental car companies make renting a car really easy. You walk in, show someone a driver's license, provide a credit card, sign a couple pieces of paper, and you're ready to drive. With smartphones and apps, it is becoming even easier. However, rental car companies frequently are doing quite a bit behind the scenes to make sure you are who you say you are, and that you are really licensed.

Ordinarily, when a person causes a car accident, they will be held liable for the damages and injuries they cause. In most states, if the owner and driver of the car are different people, the vehicle's owner can also be found liable under a theory of negligent entrustment. Additionally, if a vehicle owner lends or rents a vehicle that has not been properly maintained, they may also be found liable for an accident that results from that improper maintenance.

A Stanford graduate student has filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming it failed to properly respond to multiple allegations of violence and sexual assault concerning another student, allowing him to prey on at least four female students during his undergraduate years.

The lawsuit also claims that, when Stanford finally found the student responsible for "serious sexual misconduct" in 2014 (three years after his first reported assault) the school failed to enforce its own campus ban on the student, referred to as "Mr. X" in the lawsuit, and that he had been seen back on campus as recently as February.

A recent case out of Los Angeles is making headlines for the $1 million verdict awarded by the jury. The plaintiff in the case was a 65 year old man who suffered from degenerative back problems, and claimed not to be injured at the scene of the accident. The accident was characterized as a low impact crash. While there may be a couple eye-opening facts about this case, the settlement negotiations are the most shocking. Before trial, plaintiff offered to settle for $60,000, and the defense only offered $20,000. While jury verdicts are routinely expected to be larger than settlement offers, this massive of a gap is rare.

Another fact that some might find shocking is that the plaintiff was awarded the large verdict despite having a pre-existing condition before the accident. This is due to the eggshell plaintiff doctrine, which basically says that a defendant is responsible for the damages they cause another person, even if that person is as fragile as an egg. While a defendant may think it is unfair, if the shoe were on the other foot, that thought would likely change. Being extra-susceptible to injury is scary.

Most plastic surgeons are competent, compassionate, and careful. And the vast majority of plastic surgeries are successful and injury-free. But, like any surgery, cosmetic operations have risks, and can go wrong.

So are there procedures that are more risky than others? And if so, which plastic surgeries are the most dangerous?

As family, friends, and the community mourn in the aftermath of last month’s fatal school bus crash in Tennessee, the parents of victims are beginning to file lawsuits against the bus operator. The school bus struck a mailbox and utility pole, flipped onto its side, then hit a tree. The tragic crash left six young children dead, and numerous other children injured.

As of this week, three lawsuits have been filed against the school bus operator. The lawsuits allege that the bus was not driven safely, and that the resulting injuries are a result of the unsafe operation. The most recent case was filed by the parents of a young girl that suffered a traumatic brain injury which will require life-long care.

Whether you call it fake news or conspiracy theory, allegations of imagined crimes can have very real consequences. Take the case of Edgar Welch, a father of two who drove six hours from his home in North Carolina to a Washington, D.C.-area pizza restaurant to investigate unfounded claims that it was involved in a child sex-slave ring led by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Welch's investigation involved walking into the popular pizzeria with a loaded AR-15 assault rifle and firing it inside the restaurant. Fortunately, he was arrested before anyone was injured, but his actions, and those of others who bought into the "Pizzagate" myth, have many wondering about the legal liability for publishers of fake news.

When large pile-up accidents occur, figuring out who is to blame can sometimes be impossible. Liability depends on how the accident happened, and for every vehicle involved in the accident, there will be a different account of what happened. Frequently, multi-vehicle accidents require accident reconstruction experts to figure out who is to blame.

Nearly all car accidents are the result of negligence, and most multi-car accidents are the result of multiple instances of negligence. At the end of the day, it may be that multiple individuals are liable for damages, or that no one can be held liable.

Jurors in Texas awarded six California plaintiffs $1.041 billion in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedic, over defective hip implants. It's another ignominious defeat for J&J, who've been hit with six of the seven largest jury awards this year, according to the American Bar Association.

It's also another in a long line of lawsuit losses for J&J and DePuy over their hip implants, which plaintiffs allege cause tissue death, bone erosion, and other injuries.

If you suffer from chronic pain or fibromyalgia, you may want to seek legal remedies to compensate for your pain. Fortunately, you can sue for the injuries that caused or exacerbated your conditions. However, this may lead to a very heated legal battle, since permanent injures command high settlement or verdict amounts. 

Keep in mind that you may have a hard time winning a legal battle if you already had a chronic pain condition prior to the injury. Claims that a single event caused a chronic condition or fibromyalgia will be closely scrutinized. If causation can be clearly proven with medical evidence, then you may be able to recover damages attributable to the condition.

Schools are entrusted with more than just the education of their students, they are entrusted with the safety of the children they seek to educate. When a student is injured due to a school’s failure to keep the student safe, the student will likely have an injury claim that can be brought against the school.

School injuries can occur for many different reasons. Most injuries tend to be the result of school sponsored sports. However, fights, accidents, and even assaults on school property can result in injuries that a school can be held liable for. Like any other public or private establishment or business, a school has a duty to keep their premises safe. Students that suffer injuries on school property as a result of poor maintenance, or a dangerous condition, like a wet floor, will likely have a premises liability claim.