PERSONAL INJURY BLOG

Motorcycle Accidents and Fatality Statistics Expected to Rise

Thursday, November 26, 2015

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, more than 4,600 motorcycle fatalities occurred in 2011. There were also more than 80,000 injuries. The final figures for 2012 have yet to be officially published. However, based on the preliminary data, the final results are apt to be just as depressing. To date, it appears that the year ended with a marked increase in traffic related fatalities and a decrease in motorcycle helmet use.

The reasons for the motorcycle accidents were understandably varied. Although statistics indicate that one of the most common was driving while under the influence. Those types of motorcycle accidents frequently occurred more often in low light and involved other vehicles. Additional reasons associated with motorcycle accidents include speeding, poor visibility, equipment failure, unfavorable road conditions and driver error.

Head injuries were one of the most common injuries among motorcycle drivers. They tend to cost the victim millions in direct and indirect healthcare costs. Of course that isn’t even taking into consideration the injury’s financial and emotional impact on others (i.e. additional drivers, family members, caregivers and property owners). There are also quality of life issues to think about. Additional injuries typically associated with motorcycle accidents include broken bones, limb loss, soft tissue damage, nerve damage and decapitation.

With that said, there are several precautions that motorcycle riders can take to reduce their risk of injury. For instance, it is an excellent idea to wear protective clothing and a helmet. Doing so may minimize the severity of soft tissue damage and brain injuries. It is also imperative to properly maintain one’s motorcycle and follow best riding practices.

Understandably, motorcycle accidents may still occur despite one’s best efforts. In such instances, it is often best to seek the sound advice of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.

A wrongful death lawsuit generally occurs because of negligence, or intentional actions

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A wrongful death lawsuit against someone, or a separate entity like a car company, is usually filed by survivors on behalf of the victim or his estate.

But who can sue, and what are the damages that can make up a wrongful death suit?

According to the Nolo.com website, the lawsuit may come about due to a number of circumstances that caused the death, from medical malpractice, car accidents and even instances of product liability.

At its core, such lawsuits can be brought against individuals, a company---or even a government agency---if the death was caused 1) intentionally or 2) by negligence, or when “failing to act as a reasonable person would have acted.”

Who may sue? Breaking it down...

Those filing the wrongful death suit are referred to as the “real parties in interest,” and may include, but not be limited to, the following parties: Immediate family, life partners and financial dependents; distant family members; all who’ve “suffered financially.”

Who may be sued?

The defendants in such cases might be more than an individual deemed at fault. For example, in a car accident that caused a death, defendants can run the gamut, from the driver, or employer, who’s considered at fault; the builder of a “faulty roadway;” people who served, sold or gave alcohol to an “impaired driver, or the owner of the establishment who served the alcohol.

Immunity does exist...

In some instances, employees of government agencies are immune from a wrongful death suit: It varies from state-to-state. As an example, recent federal law provides immunity to defendants in railroad collisions as well as some product liability cases when certain medical devices are in question.

Motor Vehicle Fuel Leaks Could Result in Serious Personal Injury

Friday, November 13, 2015

According to National Institute of Standards and Technology’s reports, the number of automobile fires each year remains high (estimated 300,000). Many of those motor vehicle fires are attributed to the use of substandard auto parts and flawed designs. They also have the potential to cause disfigurement, excruciatingly painful injuries and death. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why the recent fuel system inspired motor vehicle recalls garnered so much attention.

The latest round of fuel system recalls took place in early June 2013. They involved several new vehicles manufactured by Ford. The company blamed the recalls on substandard fuel lines. It wasn’t the first occasion where Ford had to deal with defective fuel lines either. A similar occurrence took place last summer. The list of motor vehicles said to be outfitted with the most recent substandard fuel lines includes the popular Taurus, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ.

Ford wasn’t the only motor vehicle manufacturer forced to deal with defective fuel systems this year either. In May 2013, General Motors issued their own fuel system related recall. It involved a defective fuel shut-off solenoid that had the potential to pose incendiary risks. Motor vehicles connected to the solenoid recalls were the Savana Cargo van and Chevy Express.

So how can consumers protect themselves against being involved in vehicle fires due to defective equipment and design? The first step is to conduct thorough research on the motor vehicle’s manufacturer. Check for fuel system related recalls going back three to five years. If the manufacturer has a history of issuing such recalls, you may want to consider shopping elsewhere. It is also a good idea to have one’s vehicle selection examined by a professional both before and after the purchase. Doing so will help to uncover problems that have yet to spur a nationwide recall.

Remember that although beneficial, taking such steps won’t guarantee that you or a loved one will never fall victim to a vehicle manufacturer’s negligence. If you do find yourself injured due to a faulty fuel system or a poor design element, contact a personal injury attorney immediately.

Learn the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Driving on the roadways with large trucks is already intimidating enough for some drivers. Because these drivers are on the road so often, they seem to become a bit careless when it comes to their driving habits. When you learn about the common causes for truck accidents, you can increase your chances of avoiding them on the road.

Fatigue

Even though the DOT has strict guidelines for how long truck drivers can be on the road in a given time period, fatigue can still become a problem. There are many factors that play a role in how tired drivers are. Some drivers can't handle as much driving as others or a driver may be sick and wears out more quickly than he is used to. Those who drive at night are also more suscpetible to fatigue than those who drive during the day, though both are at risk depending on other factors.

Skipped Maintenance

All large trucks require regular maintenance and inspections to ensure they are suitable for operation on the roadways. However, many drivers don't pay close enough attention to their maintenance tasks, which can lead to truck accidents. Flat tires, blown tires, overheating and unsecure or shifting loads can all cause accidents out on the road. These are often some of the most dangerous accidents because there are few, if any, warning signs.

Driver Error

Many truck drivers become so comfortable on the road they forget about the rules of the road. They may change langes without signaling, follow too closely or even speed. Just like any other driver that drives in this manner, truck drivers can quickly cause accidents with this behavior. People who are driving on the road with these trucks must be vigilant to do what it takes to avoid an accident.

Even though trucking companies hire drivers who are properly trained in over-the-road driving, there are some drivers who cause accidents that are avoidable. Those who drive when they are tired, don't complete the proper maintenance and drive carelessly put everyone else on the road at risk. Now that you know why these accidents occur, you can take what steps you can to avoid these accidents.

Personal Injury Lawyers Urge Outdoor Enthusiasts to Boat Safely

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Do you plan on taking your family boating at any of the great spots located across America this summer? If so, we hope that you’ll do it safely. According to U.S. Coast Guard data, more than 4,500 accidents and 650+ fatalities occurred nationwide last year. The majority of those accidents took place during the months of June and July. With that said, here’s a closer look:

Some of the tragic boating accidents were related to personal negligence. Examples include overloading the vessel, using improper anchoring methods, speeding and steering while intoxicated or distracted. Other boating accidents were attributed to faulty machinery and equipment. Failures most often associated with boating deaths are connected to the vessel’s engine, steering, shifting, seating and auxiliary systems.

The good news is that there are ways that you may reduce your family’s risk of being involved in boating accidents. For starters, the BoatUS Foundation and many states’ Department of Natural Resources offer free online courses that some boating enthusiasts may find beneficial. The no-cost courses frequently contain information about the states’ boating rules. On top of that, many states are also home to several life jacket loaner programs. The programs are designed to provide personal floatation safety equipment to people that may not have their own gear.

People that have their own boats may also want to consider maintaining their vessels properly and being mindful of boating related recalls. Boating related recalls may be found through the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Resource Center.

If you or a loved one end up in a boating accident despite your best efforts, contact a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer will review your boating accident case at no cost. Furthermore, you won’t have to pay personal injury lawyers anything unless they are victorious in their efforts to obtain justice for your family.

Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Before contacting a personal injury attorney regarding a wrongful death claim, there are certain conditions that are important to consider. Wrongful death claims do not apply in every case and may only be filed by certain people.

What is wrongful death?

Wrongful death is when a person dies as the result of the action or negligence of another party. Death occuring from medical malpractice, as the result of a gunshot or a victim of a drunk driver would all be considered wrongful death.

Who can file a wrongful death suit?

Wrongful death suits are typically filed on behalf of the estate of the decedent. The suit can generally be filed by an immediate family member including parents, spouses and children. In order to be eligible to file a wrongful death suit, the person must have standing under the law to show a loss as a result of the death.

What type of damages can be obtained?

While damages vary greatly, in many cases, wrongful death claims can be filed to recover medical expenses, funeral expenses and other direct expenses. In addition, there may be damages for loss of future income, loss of love or companionship and loss of parenting.

Additional damages

In some cases, an attorney may suggest you file a survival action. This is when a person with standing is able to file a personal injury suit on behalf of the decedent. Wrongful death survival actions will depend largely on the degree of the decedents ability to understand their medical condition prior to death, how severe their pain was and how much the decedent suffered prior to death.

When you lose a loved one, especially when the death was a result of someone's negligence or a deliberate action, you should contact a personal injury attorney. Only a well-qualified attorney can help you understand your rights under personal injury statutes.

Before You Call a Car Accident Attorney

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Car accidents are devastating. Not only are you dealing with the sudden shock of being involved in an accident, chances are you have suffered some type of injury. For many people involved in an accident for the very first time, they do not necessarily understand their rights to file a claim and receive compensation for damages to their vehicle, wages lost due to their injury and for their medical expenses. This is why it is important to call a car accident attorney but before you do, there are some things you can do first.

Take care of yourself

Immediately following an accident you should seek medical attention. Regardless of whether you think you have been injured or not, this is a smart move. Because an accident will almost always result in an increased level of adrenaline in your system, you may have injuries that are not immediately noticeable.

Contact local law enforcement

After the accident scene has been cleared and you have sought medical care, contact your local law enforcement office. Ask for the contact information for all witnesses and a copy of the accident report. This information will help determine who was at fault for the accident and the cause of the accident.

Contact insurance companies

Call your own insurance company and make sure they get a copy of the accident report. In addition, contact the insurer for the other involved parties and file a report with them. This will help start the process of recuperating your costs.

Contact an attorney

Once you have completed these steps, contact a car accident attorney. Keep in mind, insurance companies will take their time paying claims and they will also try to pay as little as possible to victims. Victims of car accidents do not need to be victimized a second time by an insurer.

Regardless of how minor your injuries are, you are entitled to compensation for injuries, damages and time you lose from work. A qualified car accident attorney can help make sure you get the compensation you deserve in spite of how little insurers are willing to pay.

A car accident attorney will help determine whats “fair and just” compensation.

Friday, October 02, 2015

In the aftermath of a traffic crash victims sort through a range of feelings, including what may lie ahead in any personal injury claim, such as who has the responsibility to pay for your medical expenses, or lost wages.

With an array of unresolved issues hanging over them, it behooves the injured party to seek an experienced car accident attorney.

At issue is a multitude of concerns touching on the mental stress affecting the claimant, as well as what is “fair and just” in the following areas, as noted on Nolo.com:

Medical treatments: Surprisingly, victims may fail to see out a few years and the need for medical treatments way beyond what they may currently be receiving.

Property Loss: The basis for determining property worth for reimbursements---including clothing---is derived from its ‘fair market’ value.

Income: A victim’s injuries may not only affect the immediate loss of wages and salary, but also influence future earnings.

The consideration takes into account any future earnings, as well as wages and salary loss in the near term.

Emotional distress: The fallout from accident injuries may impact a victim’s mental state; consequently, ‘compensatory damages’ may be appropriate if suffering is related to “fear, anxiety and the loss of sleep.”

Pain and suffering: This element can apply to injured parties who underwent “pain and serious discomfort” throughout the actual accident; too, compensation may be relevant for such conditions occurring from the “immediate aftermath.”

Commonplace, too, is compensation if pain is ongoing even after the accident.

What Can you Learn from The Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Case?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Michael Jackson wrongful death trial is yet another serious court case with a dual status as hot celebrity entertainment. The case is fascinating and newsworthy; but take away the deceased star, the high profile attorneys, and the media hype, and you'll find that it's no different from any other situation where a wrongful death is alleged.

If you've watched the trial or paid attention to the news reports, you probably learned a few things about protecting your rights when a loved one dies under suspicious circumstances.

Find an attorney immediately

When something bad happens, stars and their families often have attorneys just a phone call away. They act quickly to protect the family and preserve their legal rights. The urgency increases if the situation involves a legal issue, especially a fatality.

Why the urgency? As time goes by, evidence gets lost. Witnesses disappear. Facts get jumbled. The faster the facts are confirmed and documented, the better chance there is of proving a case in court. For example, within days of Michael Jackson's death, the family arranged a private autopsy-- in addition to the coroner's procedure-- to help them figure out exactly what happened and decide what to do next.

Make sure your attorney has a strong track record

Speed is important when you're trying to protect your legal rights, especially in the case of a fatality. It's not necessary to keep a high profile attorney on retainer; but you should know how to find the right attorney when you need one.

Ask your family attorney for a recommendation. Ask a friend if they know someone who has successfully handled wrongful death cases in the past. Check with your local Bar Association for a referral, but before you sign a representation agreement, ask a few questions. Make sure the law firm you choose has a history that includes investigating, settling and/or trying wrongful death cases.

Know that things can get really complicated

The wrongful death case presented by the Jackson family's attorneys involved evidence related to multiple medications, criminal medical malpractice, contractual responsibilities, a superstar, a concert promoter, a career comeback, and many other unusual elements. The wrongful death case you present on behalf of your loved one might not be interesting enough to draw media attention, but it will probably be equally complicated.

No matter how experienced a trial attorney is, he won't win a wrongful death law suit by simply presenting a theory of negligence. He must produce enough evidence to back up any allegations made. He must show that the case has value.

The evidence he produces to prove a case might include medical bills, projected earnings data, contracts, accident analysis, relevant laws, employer intentional torts, coroner findings, and expert testimony. He may have to reveal personal family details to prove the value of the case.

Your case could take years to be heard

Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. It has taken over four years for the jury trial. Unfortunately your loved one's case could take just as long, if not longer.

A wrongful death case can be a waiting game. The evidence is usually complicated and extensive. Sorting out liability and medical issues can be time consuming. After a suit is filed, it takes additional time to prepare for trial.

The judge sets a schedule for formal presentation of evidence. Attorneys must produce expert and medical reports, depose key witnesses, and conduct days of formal discovery. Both sides must participate in hearings and conferences before a judge approves a case for trial. Then the judge has to fit the trial into a schedule that's probably already packed with other cases.

It's a long road

When a loved one dies due to someone else's negligence, it can take years for a day in court. Even then, the outcome may be unpredictable. Still your chances of success are stronger when you have a wrongful death attorney protecting your legal rights from day one.

Unusual Wrongful Death Case Puts Nursing Shortage in the Spotlight

Thursday, September 24, 2015

It's not unusual for a victim's family to hold the employer accountable when their loved one dies on the job. However, the husband of a nurse who died earlier this year in a car accident is suing the hospital where his wife worked in a wrongful death suit. The husband asserts his wife was "worked to death." The two main reasons to file a wrongful death suit are to give the family due compensation and to hold the responsible party accountable, hopefully leading to change that will protect people in the future. This case has the potential to do both.

The Case

The husband claims his wife often worked 12-hour shifts, working through breaks, due to understaffing. Additionally, she was required to pick up extra shifts and was often called in on her days off. After working a 12-hour shift, the plaintiff's wife ran off the road and hit a tree. Sadly, the 38 year-old mother of two died from her injuries. Testimony from other nurses revealed the wife complained about being "really stressed" and that she had not eaten during the shift just before her accident. The lawsuit claims that fatigue from being overworked contributed to her death. The husbands believes she may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The plaintiff's attorney alleges the hospital deliberately did not take care of their employees. Adding further validity to the claim is testimony from the deceased's supervisor, which states the supervisor told her managers that the nurse was being "worked to death." The supervisor also testified that she complained about understaffing to the hospital's parent company.

According to National Nurses United, the largest nursing union in the U.S., understaffing and overextended shifts are a problem throughout the country. In fact, Union Government Relations Director Bonnie Castillo calls understaffing, "the single biggest issue facing nurses nowadays." The organization admits, however, that wrongful death litigation due to the problem is not common.

Far-Reaching Implications

Winning a wrongful death suit against this hospital will certainly compensate this husband and their two children for the income they have lost, as well as the pain and suffering they will continue to endure. However, a case like this can have far-reaching benefits. Holding the hospital accountable could be a catalyst for change. Currently, California is the only state with legislation that mandates how many patients one nurse can take care of at one time. National Nurses United is pushing for nationwide regulations regarding nurse-patient ratios, as well as laws governing shifts. Even without major legislative changes, many hospitals may look at this case as a warning, making changes of their own.

Families of victims are often worried about the public perception that comes with bringing a wrongful death suit. However, as this case shows, even when the circumstances of the complaint are not common, the accusations are justified. Most wrongful death attorneys offer free consultations. Getting the advice of someone experienced in wrongful death claims can bring much needed relief to the family and bring about reform that will keep others safe. If this case is won, safer working conditions and better patient care will most likely result.


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