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Treestand ratchet straps are one of the leading causes of injury to hunters. A 2014 study published in the World Journal of Clinical Cases revealed tree stand falls were a persistent cause of neurological injury while hunting. The study period lasted eight years, and revealed this to be a significant problem in the hunting community.hunter

Tree stands allow hunters to have better sight and increased protection. However, as the study noted, they can frequently result in injury when they aren’t properly used or when they aren’t properly instructed. The most common injury is head trauma and damage to the central nervous system.

In the recent case of Bradley v. Ameristep, Inc., plaintiff suffered serious injuries after falling off a tree stand. He later sued the manufacturer of the device, alleging strict product liability, negligent design and manufacture, failure to warn, loss of consortium and violations of state consumer protection laws. Continue reading →

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Ride-sharing company Uber, which has usurped local taxi providers in larger cities, has an estimated 160,000 drivers in the U.S. The service promises its users that it conducts thorough background checks of these drivers so that patrons can be as safe as possible. adriver

Now, in an amended complaint that is part of a civil lawsuit filed by two district attorneys offices in California, there is new evidence to refute such assertions by the company.

The lawsuits, filed by district attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles, say the background checks conducted by Uber in those two cities failed to uncover serious criminal records of 25 drivers, just in those two cities. Offenses of these drivers range from felony traffic convictions to sex offenses to murder. With this information, the lawsuit focuses primarily on reportedly misleading claims made to consumers, as opposed to any legal violation in Uber’s background check process. Continue reading →

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Residential agreements are required by most – if not all – nursing home residents at the time of admission. elder2

In some cases, these agreements simply lay out the financial obligation of resident seeking placement. However, an increasing number of homes are requiring residents and/or their representatives to sign arbitration agreements. These are essentially contracts that prohibit a resident from filing a lawsuit in court in the event of negligence or abuse resulting in harm to the resident. Instead, they are required to submit any claim to binding arbitration.

What many people don’t understand is that this is a forfeiture of a constitutional right. Although arbitration can yield favorable results to plaintiffs, a court of law is typically the best forum to weigh these complex cases. Plaintiffs tend to have a higher success rate in court and damages awarded are often significantly more substantial. Continue reading →

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If you are a 17-year-old driver in Florida, you are restricted via the state’s Graduated Drivers Licensing law to operation of that vehicle between the hours of 5 a.m. and 1 a.m., and at all other times must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21-years-old in the passenger seat or be traveling to and from work.trucksontheroad1

Novice drivers aren’t eligible for a full license before they reach 18. But now, if a bill moving its way through the U.S. Senate is successful, newly-licensed 18-year-olds will be considered qualified for a job on a big rig.

Federal law currently prohibits drivers under 21 from operating semi-trucks and tractor-trailers across state borders. Some states do allow 18-year-olds to operate these vehicles, but they can’t haul from state-to-state, which doesn’t make them good candidates for most long-haul trucking positions. Continue reading →

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Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal has denied an appeal by a mother, on behalf of herself and paralyzed toddler, seeking a new trial for numerous trial errors that resulted in a finding of zero liability against named defendants in a horrific Florida truck accident.accident2

In the case of Aquila v. Brisk Transportation, the appeals court did not deny there were numerous errors made by trial court. Unfortunately, those issues were not properly preserved by plaintiff’s attorney during trial, so she had no grounds on which to successfully appeal.

This, of course, is why it is so imperative to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case – especially one of this magnitude, where the injuries are severe, disabling and long-lasting.

In the Aquila case, the underlying incident resulted in catastrophic injuries. According to court records, plaintiff/mother was driving northbound on the Florida Turnpike. She was in a 2000 Chevrolet Camaro, owned by the father of her roommate. Plaintiff’s sister, a nurse, had planned to visit plaintiff and her daughter, but the sister’s car broke down, so plaintiff was driving to Orlando to pick her up and drive her back to the residence she shared with her daughter and roommate in Deerfield Beach.

Toddler was buckled securely in the back seat, and left home around 10 a.m. Halfway to the destination, it began to rain. Mother stopped at a rest stop, changed the child’s diaper, called her sister and then called her roommate. She then got back on the highway while the road was still wet.

Suddenly, without warning, plaintiff’s vehicle started to hydroplane and spin out of control. She wasn’t driving fast. She wasn’t running off the road. She wasn’t over-correcting her steering. the vehicle wasn’t on cruise control and she wasn’t taking any action that would have caused her to hydroplane. Plaintiff would later say it could have been a steering or tire issue, but for whatever reason, it happened. She veered into the center median, began to spin, struck a guardrail, continued spinning, re-entered the highway and then stalled in one of the northbound lanes.

Mother quickly got out, grabbed her toddler and, holding her tightly, ran to a grassy area of the median. Oncoming vehicles included a truck owned by defendant company and driven by defendant driver. There was also a pickup truck, driven by another defendant, whose parents were passengers.

Rain was steady and the road was wet. Visibility conditions were bad. Pickup truck driver testified he was behind the tractor-trailer, saw the brake lights, saw erratic movement by the truck and then saw it strike the stalled vehicle. Pickup truck driver swerved into the median. He struck the mother and her toddler. The mother was seriously injured. The toddler was thrown from mother’s arms. Later located, the child was permanently paralyzed.

Mother sued the pickup truck driver and insurance company, the tractor-trailer company and tractor-trailer driver. She alleged negligence by both. Specific with regard to tractor-trailer driver, she asserted notations in the commercial driver’s license handbook and traffic statutes indicating commercial drivers must look far enough ahead to determine vehicle lane changes and stoppages. This driver didn’t, and neither driver was traveling at safe speeds given the condition. She noted a student truck driver who approached seconds later managed to safely stop without hitting anything.

Plaintiff later settled out-of-court with the pickup truck driver and his insurer.

However, the case against the truck company and driver went to trial.

There were numerous problems throughout, starting with jury selection. The judge refused to allow back striking after one juror who was selected told the court of a prepaid vacation he would be on during trial. There were also problems with defense attorneys bringing up the settlement agreement plaintiff struck with the pickup truck driver.

Jurors found defendants were not liable for injuries caused by the crash.

On review, the appellate court noted that despite “multiple claims of error, these were not preserved for appellate review.” In other words, the plaintiff trial attorney failed to properly raise them at trial, which is critical if there is to be a successful appeal of prejudicial errors at trial.

Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.

Additional Resources:

Aquila v. Brisk Transportation, July 29, 2015, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal

More Blog Entries:

Injury to Sports Fan Prompts Lawsuit Seeking Better Stadium Protections, Aug. 2, 2015, Fort Myers Injury Lawyer Blog

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A high school freshman who went on a school summer foreign enrichment program to China returned forever changed after suffering a tick bite through which she contracted encephalitis. She became gravely ill while on the trip, had to be transferred to a hospital in Beijing and was ultimately flown back to New York, where medical doctors properly diagnosed her. greatwall

The effects have been devastating. She lost her ability to speak. Her face is partially paralyzed. She also lost some cognitive function, though she was able to eventually graduate from high school and attend college classes.

She and her parents sued the Connecticut private school where she attended and that had organized the trip, and ultimately won a $41.5 million judgment against the school, of which $31.5 were non-economic damages.

But now, in Munn v. Hotchkiss Sch., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has asked the Connecticut Supreme Court to consider two questions regarding the case, with implications for many future cases:

  • Does state policy impose a duty on a school to warn or protect against the risk of serious diseases caused by insects when traveling abroad?
  • If it does, is the award of $41.5 million excessive and should their be a remittitur (reduction)?

The federal appeals court agreed with plaintiff there was sufficient evidence for a jury to find the illness was foreseeable. However, the court was unable to determine whether public policy provisions in Connecticut impose a legal duty on the school.

The ruling will likely have an impact on other cases involving student who take trips abroad, which is becoming a frequent occurrence, particularly at many private schools.

In this case, the immersion program was to last one month, and it involved regular Chinese language classes, as well as several trips to cultural sites on the weekends.

Parents were given some information about the health risks, although the school conceded it had accidentally gave parents a link to a CDC website on health concerns for traveling to Central America instead of China. There was also a notation under “miscellaneous” that students should bring bug spray, but no special warning about ticks. This is in spite of the fact that U.S. officials recommend receiving a vaccine to prevent this particular disease when traveling to rural China.

While on the trip, students were supervised by the school’s Chinese language director. On one weekend trip, the group went to the Great Wall, and then later to a forested mountain. After making it near the top, some students opted to take a cable car back down, while others – including plaintiff – expressed a desire to hike it. At no point did their teacher recommend bug spray. She told them she would meet them at the bottom.

But the students got lost. They did eventually find their way back, but they were covered in welts and bug bites.

Ten days later, plaintiff grew very ill, and was soon rushed to a local hospital as her condition deteriorated.

When her parents filed a personal injury lawsuit, they initially alleged five points of negligence, but later went to trial on two points: The school was negligent for failing to warn student about the risks of this viral condition and also for failing to provide proper protective clothing, insect repellant or vaccinations.

Jurors sided with plaintiffs and awarded $41.5 million in damages.

But on appeal, defense argues it had no duty to warn or protect.

Ultimately, it will be up to the Connecticut Supreme Court to decide whether the verdict will stand.

Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.

Additional Resources:

Munn v. Hotchkiss Sch., Aug. 3, 2015, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

More Blog Entries:

Doe v. Hartford Roman Catholic Diocesan Corp. – $1M Sex Abuse Verdict Affirmed, July 24, 2015, Fort Myers Child Injury Lawyer Blog

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Drunk driving is deadly. That’s no news flash. Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol increases the risk of a crash four-fold (or 12-fold if the driver has a blood-alcohol level of higher than 0.15). These drivers are responsible for at least a third of all fatal crashes in the U.S., killing more than 10,000 people every year.beergarden

But apparently, that doesn’t convince enough people to stop doing it.

In a recent analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of self-reported data from 2012, more than 4.2 million adults admitted to driving at least once while under the influence of alcohol in the last 30 days.

If we take that figure as a monthly average, that means nationally, there are 121 million trips made by impaired drivers across the country every single month. We’re talking about a national rate of 505 episodes per 1,000 population each year. Continue reading →

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Insurance companies have a broad duty to defend policyholders in actions where they are accused of liability. One example would be an auto accident. truckforward

While this may seem of little consequence to the plaintiff, it matters because plaintiffs are ultimately looking to hold the insurance companies liable. That’s because the insured individual likely has far fewer personal resources to pay actual damages. Insurance companies, meanwhile, exist for the purpose of protecting against risk and paying damage claims.

This is why often times if an insurer is wrongly denying a claim and/or duty to defend, plaintiff may settle with the defendant for the right to stand in defendant’s place and sue his or her insurance company for breach of contract and/or bad faith. Continue reading →

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A 1-year-old girl was injured in Fort Myers in a back over accident at a family gathering. childbicycle

According to a news report by NBC-2, the family was gathered for an outdoor cookout on a recent Friday afternoon.

The girl’s mother told authorities a relative was pulling his truck out of the driveway when the toddler suddenly ran behind the vehicle. She then fell over, and the truck ran over her arm. Continue reading →

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Airbnb is an online service that allows those with residences to rent them on a short-term basis. Often those who use the service are traveling, and it offers an authentic local experience that is often a cheaper alternative to pricey hotels. hotel2

But there is a lot that can go wrong. Horror stories abound, including one recently chronicled in The New York Times.

A 19-year-old from Massachusetts traveled to Madrid in mid-July. He had arranged to stay at a private residence through Airbnb. When he arrived, however, his host locked the door, removed the key and began rattling knives in the kitchen as he pressed the teen to submit to sexual contact, according to the traveler’s account. Continue reading →