Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

May 2017 Archives

Beyond the decision whether to sue a company or corporation for injuries, there is the decision of where to sue a company or corporation. Is it where you live? Where the company is headquartered? Where the injuries occurred?

Those options got whittled down considerably yesterday when the Supreme Court ruled that a Texas-based railroad company couldn't be sued in Montana for injuries that were sustained elsewhere. The decision could have a significant impact on future personal injury cases.

The Planet Hollywood casino-hotel in Las Vegas is known for its memorabilia. Autographed wardrobe items, set pieces, and other film collectibles line the casino and adorn hotel room walls. But apparently one of those relics got a little too real for one guest.

Kent Jacobs Boutwell thought a life-sized mannequin wearing a "Miller Lite" racing suit was a life-threatening intruder and sent him racing from his room, suffering injuries to his "body, limbs, organs and nervous system," that might be "permanent and disabling."

The parents of a deceased 16-year-old high school student in Chicago have sued the police, school, and individually involved personnel, as a result of their son's suicide. Corey Walgren jumped from the fifth floor of a parking garage after being interrogated by the school's police liaison and school's dean regarding an alleged crime.

It is alleged that Corey was threatened with possession and distribution of child pornography charges, and told he would have to register on the sex offender registry, while being interrogated at school. After the interrogation ended, while his mother was en route to pick him up from school, Corey walked out of the school's office and into a downtown Naperville parking garage, where he climbed to the fifth floor and jumped. He did not pass until later that day.

In February 2015, two drunk drivers crashed head-on in Staten Island, New York, which left William Cuffee, a passenger in one of the driver's vehicles, brain damaged and severely injured. Cuffee's mother, who now cares for her son, recently filed a lawsuit against both drivers, as well as the pair of establishments one driver was drinking in prior to the crash that night.

The drivers each pleaded guilty to separate criminal charges related to the incident. However, when a person convicted on criminal charges caused injury to another person while in the process of committing a crime, a criminal conviction may not be the end of it as they can be sued in civil court as well. Cuffee's mother had to sue on his behalf as the court declared him incapacitated.

On December 1, 2016, Lindsey Rietveld was shopping at the Walmart store where she worked in Pella, Iowa, when a Ford F-150 pickup truck came crashing through the front door of the store. The truck struck and killed Ms. Rietveld and two others. As a result of the fatal crash, Rietveld's estate has filed a lawsuit against Walmart, the driver of the truck, and the architectural designer of the front of the store. The lawsuit claims the lack of barriers is to blame for the wrongful death.

The driver of the truck told police that he choked on a sip of coffee, passed out, and woke up after crashing through the front of the store. As a result of suffering the medical emergency, the driver was not charged criminally.

Boats, many of which lack brakes, seat belts, and airbags, can be just as dangerous as cars. And a recent lawsuit in Washington details just how dangerous they can be.

The surviving family members of a man who drowned in a boating accident at Lake Coeur d'Alene last summer claim the man piloting another boat wasn't paying attention after dark and plowed right through a stationary boat, killing three people. The wrongful death lawsuit also claims the man behind the wheel, Dennis Magner, lied to investigators about who was driving at the time of the crash.

A Florida woman was awarded $100,000 by a jury in her case against Starbucks stemming from a 2014 hot coffee spill injury. Joanne Mogavero, a 43-year-old mother of three, filed suit after the lid to her coffee popped off while it was being handed to her from the Starbucks drive-thru window. The 20-oz.190 degree coffee spilled in her lap, resulting in first and second degree burns.

Of the $100,000 jury verdict, a little over $15,000 was awarded for the actual medical expenses, while the remainder was awarded for pain and suffering. Starbucks has stated that the company is considering appealing the verdict.

Wrongful death lawsuits allow surviving spouses and family to recover financially when a spouse or family member dies due to the negligence or intentional act of another. Wrongful death laws will vary from state to state, but will typically only allow immediate family members, or next of kin, to file the claim. This often results in unmarried individuals being unable to recover for wrongful death claims.

The common exception to this involves states that allow registered domestic partners, which used to be common for same-sex couples prior the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage. However, frequently, older couples will register as domestic partners rather than re-marry after a divorce, or a prior spouse died, for a wide variety of social and economic reasons.

Criminal convictions can make nearly every facet of a person's life miserable. Even minor criminal convictions that people don't ordinarily even consider criminal, like traffic tickets, can upend a person's life.

Sadly, when it comes to a civil injury case, criminal convictions can matter significantly. While not all convictions will have a significant impact, more recent and more serious convictions are likely to pose more of a challenge. It is important to note, however, that state laws will vary regarding what kinds of convictions can be used in both civil and criminal courts and when.

In 2013, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an unsecured brick wall on a demolition site collapsed onto the adjacent Salvation Army store. The three to four story brick wall crushed the store, killed seven individuals, and injured 12 others, affecting a total of 19 families. A mass injury, wrongful death lawsuit filed in response concluded earlier this year.

The victims were awarded $227 million by a settlement in February, after a 17-week long trial, while the jury was still deliberating. The jury found the Salvation Army, as well as the demolition site's owner, and the architect and contractor doing the demolition, liable for the collapse, deaths, and injuries. Of the $227 million, $200 million will be paid by the Salvation Army, while the remainder will be paid by the demolition site's owner. However, none of the victims or families have been paid yet as the damages were not apportioned.

The hospitals in VA health system are just as susceptible to the same type of medical malpractice claims as any other hospital. However, due to the fact that the VA system is both overburdened and underfunded, those hospitals may also face claims for injuries related to delays in treatment.

Regardless of whether the injury is the result of hospital negligence, medical malpractice, or just ordinary negligence, veterans can sue the VA in court. A recent medical malpractice settlement against a VA hospital neared seven figures. In that case, a veteran underwent an unneeded surgery that caused him further, and life changing, injuries.

This week, in a Chicago courtroom, a judge handed down a massive, record setting, $23.1 million malpractice verdict against a neonatologist. The verdict, according to the plaintiff's attorney, is believed to be the largest birth injury verdict handed down by a judge (as compared to a jury verdict).

The verdict was awarded to the parents of a five year old girl that will suffer from a lifetime of health issues as a result of the medical malpractice. Although the hospital was not found to be negligent, it will be footing the bill for $21 million, while the doctor, who was found negligent, pays the remaining $2 million himself.

We tend not to think of driveways as unsafe spaces. After all, our cars are generally already parked at home, or pulling in or backing out slowly (hopefully), so our driveways rarely feel like danger zones.

But recent studies have shown that driveway accidents are sadly all-too-common, often targeting younger children and can be fatal. And in a tragic twist, the vast majority of children are injured with their parent or a close relative behind the wheel. So what do these accidents look like? And who might be liable for children's injuries sustained in driveway accidents?

When suing a hospital or a doctor, you usually seek to recover past and future medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses. But you can also seek compensation for pain and suffering. Generally, a person can pursue a claim for pain and suffering when they are injured due to negligence and experience either pain or suffering, individually or combined.

Pain and suffering compensation is essentially what it sounds like. If a person experiences physical pain, or suffers mentally from things like stress, anxiety, or depression, and the pain and/or suffering can be attributed to a compensable injury, then money can be awarded for it.

A current Colorado civil wrongful death case involving extra potent marijuana candy has been attracting national attention since 2014. The incident involved a Colorado man who had eaten a physically small amount of very potent marijuana candy, started hallucinating, then shot and killed his wife. In the criminal case, the defense attempted to claim temporary insanity caused by the pot candy. However, the defendant was sentenced to 30 years for the murder.

In the civil wrongful death case, it is alleged that the marijuana candy played a part in the murder. The children have made legal claims against the pot candy maker, and have reportedly settled claims with the store where it was purchased. However, for the candy maker, things have taken a turn for the worse, as their insurance carrier has filed in federal court seeking to be relieved from providing coverage.

As soon as the dust and tail lights have settled, and we make sure everyone is okay, we want to know whose fault a car accident was. Did someone not use their blinker? Did you check your blind spot? Was the other driver speeding?

Multilane roads and highways normally have higher speed limits, meaning we're around more cars and switching lanes at a much faster pace. And many different elements can come into play when trying to decipher who is at fault for a lane-changing accident. Here are a few.

Johnson & Johnson has been inundated with lawsuits concerning its baby powder and the link to ovarian cancer. One Alabama firm said it had 867 cases pending against the health products giant, and over 1,400 plaintiffs had collectively filed 20 lawsuits in St. Louis alone.

It was a St. Louis jury that awarded Lois Slemp over $110 million after connecting her use of Johnson & Johnson's Shower-to-Shower and Baby Powder products to her ovarian cancer. The verdict adds to the $197 million the company was hit with in three verdicts last year.

While children and adults can both find bounce houses to be tremendous amounts of fun, like trampolines, there’s a serious risk of injury when things go wrong. A recent injury lawsuit filed in New York State by the parents of two children injured in a bounce house is a reminder of how often these injuries occur.

The parents of the two injured kids are bringing claims against the owner of the bounce house, the toy store that sold it, and the manufacturer. Like many other bounce house injuries, the structure was set up properly, including the use of straps that secure the structure to ground with spikes. However, when a strong gust of wind came, the structure was tossed about, and flung over 10 feet into the air, causing the kids to suffer injuries when they fell to the ground.

Top 5 Defamation FAQ

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. It's not just good social advice from mom; it can also be good legal advice from an attorney.

While the First Amendment protects free speech, it doesn't protect all speech. And certain negative speech can get you sued. Here are some of the biggest questions regarding defamation law, and where you can turn for answers.

When your property gets destroyed or damaged by another person, you may be left wondering what you can do, legally. Under the law, if a person damages your property, whether intentionally or negligently, barring extraordinary circumstances, they will generally be liable for the damages caused.

Although it is a rather common problem that people have to deal with, individuals frequently have questions about their legal rights when it comes to property damage claims. Below are five of the most frequently asked questions about property damages claims.

It may surprise you to learn that Congress is now considering a bill that would require cruise ship companies to report crimes and death on their vessels, even if it's only surprising to learn that cruise ship operators weren't already contacting authorities if a passenger was robbed, assaulted, or died at sea.

It may also surprise you to learn a similar bill has been floating around the federal legislature since 2013, and has yet to be passed. So will the most recent version fare any better? And who should be liable for deaths on the high seas?

The trial against the city of Chicago as a result of a serious injury accident at O'Hare Airport a few years ago is set to move forward soon, unless a settlement can be reached as to the monetary award. The city has assumed liability and admitted fault, leaving the court to determine the extent of the damages.

In 2015, Tierney Darden was standing in a shelter at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, when the 750 pound shelter collapsed on top of her. What's worse, the accident caused Ms. Darden's spinal cord to be severed, leaving her permanently paralyzed. Investigators discovered that the shelter Ms. Tierney was standing in had missing bolts and other obvious signs of inadequate maintenance.

A recent investigatory report in South Carolina uncovered a disturbing trend among many home daycare providers: an alarmingly high rate of providers aren’t in compliance with laws requiring health and safety training. Despite there being a law requiring home daycare providers to partake in annual training, the law lacked any enforcement or monitoring mechanism.

The lack of enforcement in South Carolina allowed countless home daycares in several different counties to continue to operate despite being out of compliance with the law requiring home daycare workers to fulfill annual training.

Denver law enforcement officials have been using a 2012 city ordinance prohibiting unauthorized camping to conduct homeless sweeps throughout the city. The sweeps often involve police and other city workers detaining, citing, and arresting homeless people, while seizing and destroying their property.

Just last week, a federal judge granted class action certification for a lawsuit filed on behalf of those homeless, meaning as many as 3,000 victims of the homeless sweeps can join the litigation.

A Las Vegas jury had already decided that the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino's Marquee nightclub owed David Moradi $160.5 million after security staff attacked him and left him with a traumatic brain injury in 2012. But that was just for compensatory damages -- the amount needed to make Moradi whole after medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Moradi was also seeking punitive damages (designed to punish and deter bad behavior), to the tune of another $483 million.

How much of either kind of damages he'll get will remain unknown, however, since Moradi has since settled with the Marquee for an undisclosed sum.

The wife of deceased triathlete Jared Bynum was recently awarded $4 million in the wrongful death lawsuit stemming from his fatal bicycle accident in 2012. The case was filed against both the motorist that struck and killed her husband as well as the developer of the highway.

While the driver alleged that the sun was in their eyes, the developer, with the support of public investigators, claimed that Mr. Bynum should never have been on the roadway. Fortunately for the widow of the deceased, a jury didn't find these arguments convincing enough. Though the developer entity was not found liable, the jury indicated that driver was liable for the accident, and the developer's engineer was liable for the lack of signage.