Wrongful Death & Survival Action Lawsuits

When your loved one is a victim of an accident and is severely injured, it can be a very a difficult time in your life. Taking care of your injured loved one while they recover can be a financial burden not only of them but also on you. Together, you decide that filing a personal injury lawsuit is what’s best to help recover lost wages, medical expenses and the pain and suffering your injured loved one is going through. But then, something tragic happens – your loved one dies in the middle of his pending lawsuit. What do you do? What are your legal rights? There are currently two options available: filing a wrongful death claim as well as filing a survival action.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If you are family or a loved one of someone who was killed due to someone else’s negligence (whether immediate or a few weeks after the fact), you have the right to file a wrongful death claim for damages. Damages include pain and suffering while your loved one was injured, current and future income they may have been lost during your loved one’s injury, funeral expenses and outstanding medical bills associated with your loved one’s injuries.

Survival Action

A survival action is slightly different. You are seeking damages on behalf of your now-deceased loved one. In layman’s terms, you are continuing the personal injury case. Usually, the person who files for a survival action is the executor of your loved one’s estate. The estate files a survival action to seek damages relating to the pain and suffering of the victim, medical bills and lost earnings, similar to what your loved one could have recovered in a personal injury lawsuit if they would have survived.  Any compensation awards to the estate is then dispersed directly to the estate and then distributed according to the victim’s last will and testament.

If your loved one died at the hands of someone’s recklessness, give us a call for a free consultation to discuss your case. You might be entitled to file a wrongful death claim and/or a survival action.



Is Domestic Violence A Personal Injury?

Domestic violence is an epidemic not only affecting couples in the United States but around the world. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 women will be victims of severe domestic abuse by an intimate partner at some point in their life. For men, the odds are slightly better at 1 in 7. A report from the World Health Organization also told us that a man or woman that is exposed to domestic violence as a child is 3-4 times more likely to abuse their partner. The most alarming statistic comes from a survey from Domestic Violence Statistics that stated: “a woman is beaten every nine seconds in the U.S.” If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should alert authorities then try to have a restraining order granted. Once you are away from the situation and safe, you can proceed by inquiring about a divorce and check out if a civil suit is applicable in your scenario.

Is a Divorce Necessary?

A divorce is likely necessary to enforce any kind of damage award in a civil suit. This is because in the court of law, a married couple’s assets are considered joint-property. Technically, the court cannot make a jury decide a verdict that “takes” money from one spouse and “gives it to the other.

You do not have to finalize a divorce before filing a civil lawsuit. If you file for a civil lawsuit during the divorce process, the damages you are owed will be factored into the reward of the divorce. In an ordinary divorce, the assets will most likely be split 50/50. For example, if a couple is determined to be with 500,000, they would split the money $250,000 – $250,000 even. If the wife is suing for domestic violence and is awarded $75,000, the new split would be $325,000 to the wife and $175,000 to the husband.

Types of Civil Claims

The victim of domestic violence has three types of claims that they can file against the abuser: assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In theory, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress do not have to involve physical contact. Battery, on the other hand, is only involved when there is physical contact involved.

If the abuse is physical, the reward will be determined by the severity of the abuse. Even if there are less severe damages, such as bruises, or no physical harm at all, the victim of domestic abuse can still sue for emotional pain and suffering. Many of the domestic abuse cases that have been recorded are not only for one instance of domestic abuse, they are usually built up with numerous occurrences over months or sometimes even years. The damages being sued for do not have to be for just a single reported case, if the victim had been abused by the same abuser more than once over a period of time, there can be a cumulative effect on damages.

When creating a case for emotional pain and suffering, an expert witness may be necessary. An expert witness could be a psychiatrist, psychologist,or any other mental health physician. The expert witness will give a testimony on the victim’s behalf that solidifies the claim of the abusee stating that the mental health issue the victim incurred is a direct result of the abuse suffered. The most common mental health issue that is associated with domestic abuse is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can affect victims for a lifetime and it is required that a medical professional supplies the court with proof of the disorder and testifies on the victim’s behalf.

Domestic violence between partners is a growing epidemic throughout this country and the rest of the world. Many think that domestic abuse can only affect women, but it can also affect men. It is important to continue increasing the awareness of this crime that is committed not only by ordinary people but by athletes and celebrities as well.

What To Do With Your Estate After You Win A Lawsuit

All right, great: you just won a big lawsuit or snagged a decent settlement, and you’re content to be swimming in a sea of cash for the rest of your life. But with great money comes great responsibility, and you’ll need help determining how to organize your affairs, both in life and in death. If you received enough cash, then it’s important to know that you could be looking at a sizable estate tax from your good friend Uncle Sam. Either way, you’ll want to speak with an estate planning lawyer and a financial advisor to determine the best next steps for you and your family.

Here are just a few things to think about, including actions you can take right now in order to prepare yourself for what happens when you receive an influx of wealth.

Estate planning after winning a lawsuit can be a headache, but it doesn’t have to be any worse than it already is. First and most importantly, discuss with your lawyer the gross worth of your assets. If you hold real estate, then have the total worth of those properties on hand. If you don’t know, then have the properties appraised as soon as possible. This will help your trusted advisors calculate the base tax on your estate. The benefit in doing this as soon as possible is that there are ways of avoiding some of the tax burden. The benefit is nicely complemented by the fact that it’ll relieve your beneficiaries of some financial burden and the added pressures of trying to negotiate your estate’s affairs on their own.

If you’ve got the money to do so, then eliminate your debt immediately. Hire a financial advisor to help you determine the best course in distributing your assets through investment. Now that you’ve got a bit of wealth, you’ll want to accumulate more. A lot of people who receive settlement cash or lottery winnings have a difficult time adjusting to the new wealth, and don’t control their spending. Be careful, and take some time adjusting to the new numbers in your bank account.

Don’t forget that any donations you make to charity organizations can be deducted from your taxes. If you’re a supporter of a cause, then feel free to give some of the new cash away.

If you have children of your own, or would like to support the children of other friends or loved ones, then consider opening trusts in the names of potential beneficiaries. Investing in someone else’s future can be rewarding, and knowing that your kids won’t be in debt if they decide to get into higher education is a fulfilling exchange.

Your estate planning lawyer will also help you draw up a will, or amend one that you already have. You’ll know exactly where your assets will end up when you pass away, and exactly how the transition will take place. This knowledge will relieve a burden you never knew existed.

After you’re done putting the finishing touches on concrete plans for your future, it’s time to have fun. Start traveling to the places you’ve always wanted to see, and doing the things you’ve always want to do. Take some time off of work–but don’t quit until normal retirement age, because you’ll live longer. Spend some time with family. You know yourself, and you should do what’s best for you.

Can You Sue A Store Over An Ice-Related Slip And Fall Accident?

Slip and fall accident victims often wonder if they are entitled to compensation. There are some serious accidents that happen, and plaintiffs have for sure been awarded settlements. Do slip and fall accidents have to occur inside a store in order for you to have a case? The short answer is no. If you were indeed to slip and fall on ice outside a store and injure yourself, you could be entitled to a cash settlement. There are certain stipulations when it comes to personal injury law in regards to these types of cases, so let’s take a look.

First and foremost, it must be proven that the store should have taken action to clear conditions in order to prevent customers from having a slip and fall accident. Whether they had notice of conditions that could cause a slip and fall is only part of the equation. It has to be determined whether they should have had notice. There are naturally many types of accidents that fall into this category, so to get a clearer picture of whether or not you have a case regarding a slip and fall on ice outside a store, check out identical cases to yours. You will find overviews of similar cases, and they can give you an idea of what to expect.

Of course the best proactive stance is to get in touch with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to see what he or she has to say. Remember, the point is it must be proven that the store knew or should have known about the ice and conditions and failed to take reasonable action in a timely manner. When you think about what has happened to you and consider the legal guidelines, what is your opinion about your case? If you feel that you have a case, reach out to a personal injury lawyer.


Uber, the pioneering rideshare firm, has exploded as a transit option in major metropolitan areas. Ridesharing provides services that are convenient, reasonably priced and make for easy arrangements from an app on a mobile device at mere minutes’ notice. These can be the kinds of qualities that make ridesharing in some ways superior to taxicabs and public transportation.

As a natural progression develops, where more and more Uber and other rideshare drivers hit the roads around the country, there becomes a bigger risk that one of these vehicles will get involved in a car accident, regardless whether the Uber driver is at fault or not.

An accident that involves an Uber driver or a vehicle with an Uber fare aboard, can have a more complex liability equation than a simple carpool or other passenger driving situation. After all, an Uber vehicle is kind of a hybrid between a taxi service that collects fares, and a carpool situation where a person shares his or her vehicle with others.

As accidents involving Uber drivers are becoming more common, the calculus of liability is a bit complicated; while Uber vehicles are similar to taxicabs, here are different regulations and policies governing the two different types of transit options.

If the unfortunate occasion happens that you are an Uber fare caught up in an accident, the liability insurance will be necessary to know in case a claim needs to be filed.

Uber knows it might rain, so it has an umbrella.

What this means is that Uber requires all its drivers to have at least a state-required minimum amount of liability coverage for the vehicle that will be used for Uber fares. If an insurance claim is filed, the Uber driver’s personal liability insurance is used first to pay the claim, then Uber’s umbrella coverage kicks in after an additional deductible is paid above the personal vehicle liability limit. The umbrella policy is in force while an Uber driver is using the app, either going toward or carrying a fare. The coverage ends when the passenger is dropped off and is away from the vehicle a safe distance.

Uber claims that it does a background check on all potential drivers, but when it comes to a driver’s driving record, Uber can only vet the last seven years. That could be problematic if the driver’s record is actually longer than that. Should there be an accident involving an Uber driver, getting a full driving record of the driver may be valuable information should a claim be filed.

So let’s assume that an Uber driver has a clean record (as far as Uber knows), and there is an accident involving an Uber driver who was actively transporting a fare. How does the liability for that accident shake out?

States have different laws and regulations governing rideshare companies that operate in those states, and state courts have had wide-ranging interpretations about liability in a car accident. What seems to be in common among all the court decisions is that the driver is the first line of liability in an accident and should be considered such first and foremost.

It’s possible, however, that Uber may have some liability, especially based on answers to these vital questions, which should come up ina good accident investigation:

  1. Is the driver covered at the state-mandated minimum liability coverage?
  2. Was the driver active on the app when the incident occurred?
  3. What does the driver’s full driving record reveal (past the most recent seven-year window)?

Liability for an accident involving an Uber driver can be a little more complicated than a normal driving situation, so ti’s important to get as much information as possible at the scene and get a police report. From there, get sound legal advice, especially from an attorney who specializes in rideshare laws, to determine the feasibility of a claim and to make sure the right entities are held to account for what happened.


Whether you ride a subway, railroad, trolley car, bus or any other public-transit or mass-transit system, any accident that occurs which involves one of these vehicles can cause multiple serious injuries and perhaps more than one death, depending on the severity.

Public transit, or mass transit, involves a small or large group of people on a single vehicle, which means any accident will impact more than a couple people – and the more people involved, the higher the cost of the accident may be to families and insurance companies, not to mention the municipality or third-party contractor that is operating the mass transit system.

A mass-transit accident is very rarely simple when it comes to determining liability for the accident and the subsequent injuries or casualties. Take a bus, for example. Sure, the driver of the bus could be held liable for the accident, but what if the brakes went out so the driver couldn’t stop? What if the intial accident cause only minor injuries, but then the gas tank of the bus exploded, killing a couple people and putting firefighters at risk? The driver can’t be the only one liable in these situations.

What if there was an altercation between passengers on the bus that caused the driver to get distracted and lose control of the bus? Or perhaps a passenger was not seated and was too far forward on the bus and the crash caused the passenger to go through the front windshield and smash it, causing additional injuries?

Very few of these accidents are “clean” and uncomplicated. As you can see from a hypothetical, this kind of accident is not all that far-fetched or rare. There can be so many moving parts in terms of what causes an accident and what causes the majority of the injuries. Liability may not necessarily rest on a single person or entity, so it’s vitally important to let law-enforcement and your legal representative do their due diligence in investigating the accident and gathering all the pertinent information about the accident, as well as before and after timelines, to paint an entire picture of what happened and the full result of the dominoes that fell.

If you are injured in a mass-transit vehicle accident, filing a legal claim may involve suing several different entities, depending on the facts of the case. No matter who you claim is liable, you as the victim will have to prove that each defendant acted negligently in order to win a case. You can win against one defendant even if you have three or four, and that one defendant may be forced to pay compensatory damages, but negligence has to be proven against each defendant individually.

Many states have “common carrier” laws on the books, which are laws that are directed at mass-transit and other public transportation systems. While a petitioner still has to prove negligence, the “common carrier laws state that these public or mass-transit systems have a duty to achieve a higher level of care and due diligence in order to meet the standard of a reasonable expectation of safe transpot for all persons on the vehicle while it is in operation.

“Common carrier“ laws can be the “secret sauce” In winning a case against a public-transportation operator, vehicle manufacturer or any other entity involved in a mass-transit accident liability. That higher standard essentially lowers the bar for proving negligence, but again it takes a thorough investigation to ensure that all the defendants which may have liability are included in any claim. Otherwise, there may be an opportunity missed.

Who Is Held Liable In A Building Fire?

In some cases regarding building fires, particular cases of arson, determining liability depends solely on finding the culprit who intentionally started the fire. However, many building fires aren’t necessarily the result of malice or even any agenda whatsoever. So, determining liability can generally be a bit trickier than simply finding someone who committed a crime.

Typically, building fires can start in a number of ways, many of which are very easy to come about as accidents or lapses in judgment. Some examples include unattended ovens or candles, improperly installed electrical equipment or wiring, faulty fire management equipment such as sprinklers or fire alarms, or even weather-related events such as lightning strikes. Any of these events could have a profound impact on who might be held liable in the event that a fire breaks out as a result.

Often is the case when someone might be in the process of cooking a meal using the oven and then ends up having to leave for a brief while to tend to something else. Or a candle could be lit anywhere in the vicinity when someone takes leave of it, be it to go elsewhere in the house, become preoccupied with another activity such as a bath or falling asleep, or sometimes even leaving the residence altogether for whatever reason. While it might be just as easy to turn the oven off or blow the candle out and take safeguards against the possibility of a random occurrence, there are some who err with the intention of only being away a brief moment. That moment turns to several minutes (sometimes even longer) and, without even realizing it, the risk of a fire becomes unfortunately great. And while it may not have been your intention at all to start a house fire, the sad reality is that you would be held liable for such negligence. As home owners or renters, there are some obvious responsibilities and precautions we need to take to avoid such disasters. Keeping your fire safety devices up to date is a good one, but better yet is simply never leaving such a risk up to chance. While you may be away for just a couple of minutes, a couple of minutes may be all it takes for something to happen. It is not time to check the calendar

In the case of electrical failures, unless you were the one to install the wiring yourself, such events would likely fall to the ones responsible for the installation and its subsequent failure. Depending on the circumstances that led to the failure, one of the several different possibilities exist for who might be the defendant in this case:

  • The company that supplies power to the building
  • The individual or company that installed the wiring
  • The landlord or owner themselves
  • The tenant who occupies the space in which the fire originated
  • The entity who failed to inspect the building properly or take steps to assure fire hazards were accounted for
  • The manufacturer of the faulty machinery

As well as many others, depending on the root cause of the fire. However, in the case of a natural disaster that might start a fire (a lightning strike, for example), it is difficult to hold anyone accountable – as you might imagine – for a natural disaster. Most of the time, fire damage as the result of a lightning strike, in particular, is covered by home owner’s insurance (or by renter’s insurance if that is applicable in your case).

Regardless of what you might surmise to be the root cause of a fire outbreak in your home, it is almost always in your best interest to consult the expertise of someone specialized in fire litigation in order to get the best results possible for your situation.

Who Is Held Liable In An SUV Rollover Accident?

Automobile accidents, in general, can be quite a terrifying and tragic event, regardless of the circumstances leading up to them. However, in many cases, vehicles tend to remain upright due to low centers of gravity for many sedans, which tends to play a factor in fatality statistics. This unfortunate truth also yields the very real situation of rollover accidents that are quite prominent throughout the United States, particularly in designs such as SUVs and vans that have a higher center of gravity and are therefore more prone to rollover. Despite higher safety standards in many SUV models, rollover accidents are still a leading cause of automobile accident fatalities in the country. Over 280,000 cases of rollover accidents are reported each year, resulting in about 10,000 fatalities – a statistic that accounts for almost one-third of all passenger deaths from vehicular accidents.

So, who is to blame in the case of a rollover accident? Who is held liable in the event that any vehicle suffers a rollover accident, let alone an SUV? There are a number of factors that can go toward determining this:

  • Road conditions leading up to the accident
  • How uneven the terrain might be
  • Manual errors on part of the driver, such as overcorrecting or excessive cornering
  • The possibility of carrying too much weight on part of the driver and passengers within the vehicle
  • Manufacturing defects within the vehicle itself

Due not only to their higher center of gravity but also to a statistically more narrow wheel base, SUV’s are particularly susceptible to a rollover accident, especially under conditions that involve quick handling or sudden changes to the driving conditions or operation in general. However, despite the accountability of human error that is taken into consideration, many SUV’s are found to suffer rollover accidents as a result of vehicle design and manufacturing flaws. With a full investigation of the vehicle’s ability to perform, many attorneys can more easily determine liability and whether the fault lies with the driver or with the manufacturer of the vehicle. However, statistics suggest that due to modern manufacturing procedures leading to higher safety ratings and the fact that many rollover accidents tend to involve only one vehicle (the vehicle that ends up rolling over), it is more often the case nowadays that fault lies with the operator of the vehicle. With distractions as great as ever (texting while operating a vehicle, operating equipment within the vehicle while it is in motion, etc.), the liability of a single-car accident is most likely to fall into the lap of the driver despite any sort of vehicular design on part of the manufacturer.

In order to prove liability on part of the manufacturer, several things need to be taken into account. The SUV must show to have some sort of unreasonable defect in its design that caused the accident or another injury to the driver and/or any passengers within the vehicle. Next, it must be proven that the vehicle was being operated as intended and within normal parameters expected of a safe driver. Finally, it must be shown that the vehicle had not been dramatically altered in any way prior to the accident that might have had a hand in contributing toward the accident itself.

Obviously, in the event of any sort of vehicular accident, consulting a lawyer after any injuries have been attended by a medical professional is an adequate method of determining liability and gives you as the injured party the greatest chance at compensation.

Who Is Responsible For My Injury At An Amusement Park?

Sometimes the worst happens when we least expect it. One example of such a situation is when we’re injured on a visit to an amusement park or another facility that caters toward the entertainment of guests. If you pay to visit one of these facilities, who is responsible for your safety? Are your rights waived when money passes hands, or does the amusement park remain liable for any injury that results from the rides on its grounds? There are a few things that might determine the outcome of a lawsuit against an amusement park or similar facility.

First, you should know that although the amusement park has a basic responsibility to provide safe conditions for you and other guests, there is an assumption that you are either a responsible adult or a child accompanied by a responsible adult. That’s one reason why many amusement park rides require you to have an adult if you’re too young. The amusement park itself must provide the safest conditions possible to optimize this scenario. If you’re hurt at an amusement park, and that injury is the result of your own irresponsible actions, then it will be difficult or impossible to prove negligence on the part of the amusement park operators.

Accidents may happen for a number of other reasons, including a mechanical failure in the equipment or the improper operation by the person in control of the ride. Thousands of people are injured at amusement parks annually. Dozens have been killed over the past few decades. Because these injuries occur with some frequency, the safety of many rides is regulated by the U.S. government.

If the amusement park operators or third-party manufacturers are responsible for causing your injury, then you may file a personal injury claim and you should certainly retain the services of an attorney in order to discuss your legal options. Be sure you create records of any costs incurred, and take pictures of the injuries throughout your recovery.

What type of accident occurred? Sometimes, you might be involved in an accident that was caused when the park failed to notify you of a particular danger. In other circumstances, an employee may not have been properly trained to operate the equipment used during your accident. The staff may not have properly maintained a piece of equipment, allowing it to become defective and malfunction. In any case, you must prove negligence to recoup any damages.

In order to do this, you must find an experienced personal injury lawyer to investigate the claim. There are a number of laws involved, and this is not something you can hope to do alone.

Can I Sue For Wrongful Death If My Child Drowns In A Neighbor’s Pool?

The death of a child is a nightmare for anyone, especially if that child is your own. The stress inherent in that nightmare is understandably magnified if the death of the child is both someone else’s kid–and your fault. If your child drowns in someone else’s pool under any circumstances, then that means someone was likely negligent and liable for anything that happens on that property. A homeowner is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of their own pool, and so yes: you can sue for wrongful death if your child drowns in a neighbor’s pool. But is it as simple as that?

First of all, if you own a pool then be sure to keep it safe. Drowning ranks high on the list of causes for unintentional death, and you don’t want to contribute to such a sad and unreasonable statistic.

One of the factors that can either mitigate or complicate such a legal issue is the obvious circumstance of probable trespassing. Because the person in question is a child, however, this is less likely to complicate a lawsuit. Even so, if you intend to sue for wrongful death, then be prepared for counter-litigation depending on the circumstances. Your legal representation can help get you up to speed on any local or state laws that might apply in your situation, and prepare you for different outcomes, however likely they are to arise.

If someone did drown while trespassing, liability generally falls on the trespassing party unless the property owner knows that people frequently come onto the property. If this happens routinely, and a neighbor is aware that his or her pool is being used during these unauthorized visits, and they still don’t keep the grounds safe, then they may still be held liable.

If your child is a guest at a neighbor’s pool, it’s a very different story.

If there is an obvious danger, the neighbor is responsible for making any guest aware of it. Failure to do so can result in a claim of negligence. The neighbor is also responsible for repairing or fixing the conditions which make it unsafe. If your neighbor owns an above ground pool, and doesn’t put the ladder up, then your child may have climbed the ladder and stumbled in the pool. This is an example of negligence that you can use in court. In many cases, there is no requirement to prove negligence because the state laws override it.

No matter what, it’s important to know what your child is up to and where. If your child drowns in a neighbor’s pool, then you should retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney to decide whether or not you have a wrongful death claim that can be filed.