Articles Posted in Personal Injury

There are many hazards on a construction site. Financial recovery options for resulting injuries may not be nearly so numerous. It’s important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you identify your legal options and determine a good course of action. electric wires

In the recent case of Khosh v. Staples Construction Co., weighed by the California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District, Division Six, the question was whether a trial court correctly granted summary judgment against an injured employee who reportedly failed to present evidence that the defendant affirmatively contributed to his injuries. The court noted that generally speaking, independent contractors can’t recover tort damages for work-related injuries from the contractor’s hirer. There are some exceptions to this rule, but the court determined those don’t apply here.

According to court records, California State University hired a construction company to install a backup electrical system at the university. The construction company hired a subcontractor called DK Electrical Systems for the high-voltage work. In turn, DK hired a company called Myers Power Products to work as its subcontractor for the construction and installation of electrical switchgear for the system. The plaintiff was employed by Myers’ subcontractor.

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Tours of haunted houses are supposed to be thrilling. Being shocked by gory scenes or spooky apparitions is all part of the experience. But these experiences aren’t supposed to cause real danger. When they do, and someone is injured, the operators and promoters of the haunted house may face legal liability in real life.spooky

That’s what happened to a Michigan woman who suffered serious injuries in 2014. According to The Oakland Press, the plaintiff was knocked to the ground when a moving wall suddenly knocked her down in a poorly lit aisle. As a result of her fall, the plaintiff suffered severe fractures to her leg, as well as a soft tissue injury to her back and spine, lacerations, and bruising.

A personal injury lawsuit she filed against the company was recently settled for $125,000. The owner of the operation declined to comment, except to release a brief statement insisting the operation is safe and has been in business for many years.

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Animal owners owe a responsibility, not just to the animal but to society in general, to keep the animal safely secured so they are not a hazard to themselves or others. The degree to which this is necessary will depend on the specific breed, size, and temperament of the animal.Horse in road

In many cases, North Carolina law does not always require those injured by improperly secured animals to prove the owner had any knowledge of the creature’s previous viciousness or propensity to cause harm. In some instances, a strict liability standard may be applied. That means owners are strictly liable for the damage or injuries their pets or livestock cause. In other cases (such as dog bites or dog-related injuries, per N.C.G.S. Chapter 67), actual negligence may need to be shown by proving the owner had knowledge their dog was a “dangerous dog.”

Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals weighed whether the owner of a horse should have to face a trial in a civil lawsuit filed by a woman who was seriously injured when the defendant’s horse wandered into the road in front of the car in which the plaintiff was a front-seat passenger. The impact killed the horse and caused serious injuries to the plaintiff. The issue in Peoples v. Tuck was whether the defendant could be liable for a failure to exercise reasonable care in hitching his horse in front of his sister’s home and leaving the horse unattended in a non-fenced area.

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Manufacturing giant Johnson & Johnson is facing allegations of product liability for its alleged concealment of the risk of developing ovarian cancer by using products containing toxic talcum powder. The case, Hogans, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, is one of thousands of such claims pending against the company and the third in this multi-district litigation action to go to trial. powder

The two previous talc injury cases that went to trial resulted in verdicts of $72 million and $55 million, respectively. It’s estimated there are 1,200 lawsuits pending in Missouri and New Jersey, and the outcome of this third case could dictate whether the company moves to settle those pending cases (and for how much) or whether it continues to fight them.

The plaintiff in this action has been diagnosed with Stage Four ovarian cancer. She has reportedly used Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder products on her genitals for most of her adult life. She alleges the company was aware that talc applied in this region could travel to the ovaries and pose a risk of deadly cancer, and yet it chose to conceal this information from the public.

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Juror misconduct is getting tougher to police in this age of advanced technology. Sequestration of jurors is not a logistical possibility in the vast majority of cases. That means our system relies on trust that jurors will only consider the facts presented to them in the case – facts that have been carefully vetted by a court of law in order to ensure fairness to both sides. But some jurors find it just too tempting when there may be unanswered questions and they have instant access to almost any bit of information that was ever publicly available about the case. soap

Experienced injury attorneys know that while not every instance of juror misconduct warrants a mistrial, we must be vigilant in identifying it and calling it out and, when necessary, asking for remedy to unfairness. In some cases, that does mean a new trial.

However, as the Missouri Supreme Court recently ruled in Smotherman v. Cass Regional Medical Center, every party is entitled to a trial that is fair, but not necessarily one that is perfect. This was a slip-and-fall lawsuit that was decided in favor of the defendant property owner. Plaintiff sought a new trial after it came to light that a juror was looking up weather report information on the day of the accident. Her case, the court conceded, was not perfect and the juror did commit misconduct. However, the supreme court sided with the trial court in determining a new trial wasn’t warranted because plaintiff did not suffer prejudice as a result of the juror’s misconduct.  Continue reading

It’s been nearly three years since the death of 14-month-old Jaylen Halley. He was killed in Lee County in December 2013 in a common – and preventable – mishap when a car driven by a relative backed up in a driveway and ran over him. South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers wanted to make sure everyone who heard about the incident knew it takes only a second, and that drivers should never back up unless they are sure there is no one and nothing behind.driveway

But these types of incidents – as well as other so-called “non-traffic crashes” – were not studied intensively by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The organization Kids and Cars (KidsandCars.org) has studied the issue of child vehicle backovers, but it isn’t a government agency.

Now, almost 10 years after Congress began requiring the agency to start collecting and maintaining information pertinent to these type of events (referred to as “non-traffic accidents”), the agency has released its first report. It defined non-traffic crashes as those that occur off public traffic ways. These are mostly single-vehicle crashes that happen on private roads or two-vehicle crashes that happen in parking facilities or pedestrian accidents that occur in driveways. (The agency also has been investigation “non-traffic incidents,” which might involve situations like a vehicle falling on top of a person or unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning or a child getting trapped or left in a vehicle.) Continue reading

Suing the government for premises liability requires overcoming a number of legal hurdles. It is true that government entities do owe the public a reasonable duty of care on public property, and the government can be successfully sued when they fail in this duty and someone gets hurt.grassypark

However, claims against the government are often up against tighter timelines. In some states, claims have to be filed within just 30 days of the incident. You also generally have to provide proper notice to the government agency so that they can launch their own investigation. It’s only once the statutory timeline has passed for that investigation that you can actually file your lawsuit. And then from there, you may have to deal with the headache of sovereign immunity. The government does waive its sovereign immunity rights for a wide range of personal injury claims. However, if the injury stemmed from negligence related to a function of government that involved planning decisions and discretionary choices, the discretionary function exception may apply and the government could be immune from litigation.

Typically, if your claim is based on an act or omission of a government worker who exercised due care in executing a regulation of statute, the government won’t be liable. Further, the government generally isn’t liable if that government worker used discretion in his or job – regardless of whether that discretion was abused. Continue reading

Wyers v. American Medical Response Northwest Inc., is the consolidated appeal of six women – just a handful of the many reported victims – who sought recompense from an ambulance company that employed a paramedic who repeatedly sexually assaulted women he was transporting. Victims ranged in age from their teens up to their late 80s and most reported being in a vulnerable state, barely conscious or in shock as the paramedic assaulted them. Their complaints to the ambulance company were ignored, dismissed or “lost.” ambulance2

Then, in 2007, defendant paramedic was transporting a female patient to the hospital when he reportedly placed his hand on hers and then shoved both their hands down inside the front of her pants. As soon as she arrived at the hospital, she began screaming and crying to hospital staff. Police responded to the scene and, in the course of their investigation, they learned the ambulance worker had an extensive history of complaints from female patients who had been transported by him. He was arrested – and later convicted – of first-degree sexual abuse of four women.

The publicity from the initial claim caused other women to come forward. That first victim and three others filed civil lawsuits against the transport company. Plaintiff in Herring v. American Medical Response Northwest prevailed (the verdict was affirmed on appeal), and the other former patients’ claims were then settled out-of-court. Preparation for these cases resulted in other victims being discovered. They asserted that their complaints were not taken seriously at the time. Six of those women filed their own personal injury lawsuits against defendant ambulance company.

And that brings us to the Wyers case.  Continue reading

Electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping – all are terms for a nicotine delivery device that contains no tobacco smoke. It’s hailed as a safer alternative to cigarettes and other tobacco products that burn plant matter. But an increasing number of personal injury reports are calling that safety claim into question. smokeswirls

Some have suffered burns. Some have lost teeth. Some have suffered facial fractures. Still others have been victims of severe internal injuries. Some of these cases stem from the fact that the chemicals inside these devices are largely unknown and unregulated. The devices have also been known to occasionally blow up.

Although statistics outlining the danger are scant, we do know the Federal Emergency Management Agency has tallied at least 25 instances of e-cigarettes exploding in the U.S. between 2009 and 2014 . However, that data is based on which cases the media reported.  Continue reading

Earlier this year, South Carolina lawmakers rejected the South Carolina Medical Marijuana Program Act, which would have granted access to caregivers and patients suffering from serious illnesses. Meanwhile in North Carolina, House Bill 983 is pending that would allow marijuana as medicine. Given the growing tide of approval for medical marijuana in the U.S., it’s ultimate approval in the Carolinas seems inevitable, as legal marijuana is one of the fastest growing markets in the U.S. joint

One of the benefits of legalized marijuana is accountability for those who cultivate, process and distribute the drug. Reasonable regulations help patients and customers understand what they are getting and ensure that those who fail to ensure their products are safe properly compensate those who are affected.

Take for example the recent lawsuit filed against Colorado’s largest cannabis cultivator by two consumers over the use of pesticides. As The Denver Post reports, the plaintiffs – one who uses the drug for treatment of brain tumor symptoms – allege defendant LivWell Inc. have been using a dangerous chemical called Eagle 20 to kill pests, but in turn have been endangering users who became sick when they inhaled the drug. They assert that the fungicide, when it’s heated to smoke, produces a dangerous gas about which users were not warned. The consumers are seeking class action status for their product liability claim.  Continue reading

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