Make Sure You Don’t Ruin Your Personal Injury Lawsuit By Making These Mistakes

Were you physically, emotionally, or financially ruined by another person’s negligence? Or was a larger organization responsible for causing your pain? Sometimes, the actions of some are unconscionable. And when others act in an inappropriate way that causes harm to others, there needs to be some avenue of recompense. You shouldn’t have to be the one who pays. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to go down that road. Even good cases sometimes fail to be heard.

Part of the reason is because you don’t have the knowledge or experience to know what you should or should not do regarding a potential personal injury case. The mistakes you’re most likely to make could be easily prevented — if only you knew how.

First of all, it’s critical to the success of your case that you don’t go it alone. It’s exactly because you lack that knowledge and experience that you need the help of a qualified personal injury attorney. Make more than one or two calls. Sit down with a few attorneys and do some research before making a final decision on who would best represent your interests. Not every attorney is a match for every person’s case. You do you.

Second, time is of the essence. Procrastination is the number one reason that people fail to bring a personal injury case before a judge. Most states have very strict statutes of limitations regarding these kinds of cases, ranging anywhere from one to four years. That gives you only so much time to find an attorney, build your case, and then try to arrange an agreement with the defendant or make the case in court. Don’t delay.

Many victims who would otherwise have a strong case destroy their chances by neglecting to find medical treatment for injuries sustained. You need to see a healthcare professional about injuries immediately. If you don’t seek treatment, then not only could your pain worsen, but you won’t be able to put a dollar amount on what you’re owed — and that means a judge is less likely to hand you a favorable verdict.

After seeking medical treatment, be sure to organize your bills. Don’t lose any of these important documents! Your lawyer will appreciate not having to spend time tracking them down. In addition, keep in mind that settlements might not only include damages for medical bills, but also for future expenses, lost wages, and decreasing earning potential. You might even find that you can be compensated for pain and suffering!

Last but not least, call the police when appropriate. This is especially important when you’ve been in a serious car accident. Your lawyer will find witness testimony and police records extremely helpful when building your case.

Will The Gun Industry Ever Be Held Responsible For Gun Crime?

The short answer is no. You probably saw that coming, but you might not know the reasons why. In the 90s, there was a very successful string of lawsuits aimed at holding the tobacco industry responsible for the mounting health concerns associated with smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products. In the wake of extreme gun violence that began with Columbine and escalated from there, why not hold gun manufacturers, dealers, and distributors responsible as well?

The gun industry is extremely successful. Whether you’re for or against guns and gun protections, those people make a lot of money. Why shouldn’t they set some of it aside for survivors and families of those killed by gun violence? Doesn’t it make sense that if you sell something dangerous, you’re partly responsible for the consequences of the sale? 

In the late 90s, another string of lawsuits tried to hold gun dealers, distributors, and manufacturers accountable. They were unsuccessful. Nearly half had been dismissed before gun advocates successfully put the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) on President George W. Bush’s table, which he subsequently signed within eight months of its writing in 2005. 

The PLCAA resulted in the dismissal of the remaining lawsuits and has been a hindrance to similar lawsuits ever since. Very rarely has a law so uniformly and across the board provided similar protections to a single industry.

Jake Charles, Executive Director of Duke’s Center for Firearms Law, said, “I don’t think in the legal world the PLCAA is looked on as just regular legislation. It does seem designed to protect the gun industry in particular.”

It is extremely difficult to enact new laws restricting firearm sales in a culture where the subject is so controversial. But perhaps what could be done is the implementation of a new law wherein each gun sale is taxed. The money from those taxes could be funneled into a fund that survivors of gun violence of families of those killed by gun violence could pull from. All they would need to do is make a claim.

That might be a better use of resources than allowing thousands of people to file lawsuits that are ultimately designed to fail because of laws already on the books. And while it won’t turn off the faucet or unclog the sink — stop the wave of gun violence, that is — it will help dry up some of the water that’s already spilled onto the floor below. That’s at least a step in the right direction until we figure out what compromises we can make between the two sides of an increasingly volatile and partisan system.

Walmart Razor Blade Allegedly To Blame For Woman’s Injury

Texas resident Silver Taylor launched a premise liability lawsuit against department store behemoth Walmart after a wayward razor cut her hand — repeatedly. The dangerous blade was caught until a shopping cart. You think you’ve heard it all when Walmart is at the heart of a story, but then Taylor’s story comes out of nowhere.

Taylor said, “I had several cuts to my hands and at that point I had lost so much blood I lost consciousness. [I had] large lacerations on my hands. I also hit my head pretty hard and I fell hard on my back.”

One probably wonders whether or not this is a frivolous lawsuit. Pictures of the injury show what appears to be a number of small cuts with dried blood around them. What they certainly don’t show is a traumatic or life-threatening serious injury as the lawsuit or Taylor’s claims seem to imply. Premise liability certainly requires Walmart to pay for Taylor’s medical bills.

“I can’t do normal things,” she says. “So I feel helpless. I didn’t get to make Thanksgiving dinner. That’s not fair. It’s not fair.”

She also says the injuries have affected her ability to do simple tasks such as run errands for her children. “No, I’m not okay,” she continued. “I’m not okay at all. I feel like a failure to my children because I’m such a rock in my household. My tools are broken. My tools are injured. I’m a mom. I’m a wife and I can’t do the smallest things, like open up a refrigerator door.”

Taylor says a settlement in her premise liability lawsuit isn’t enough — she wants an apology. “I’d like an ‘I’m sorry,’” she said. “I’d like Walmart to not treat me as a blanket statement of all their other injuries that have happened in their stores. I’m a human being.”

According to Taylor’s attorney, Brad Wurster, hidden razor blades are a real problem in Walmart. “It’s not just one consumer or a few consumers,” he said. “This is a person that goes in that is a patron of their business and they need to be more proactive than reactive. Is it really going to have to take someone dying over this or a fatal wound before changes actually occur?”

It sounds almost like Wurster wants to put together a class-action razorblade lawsuit. Obviously, a razor blade lying around is a serious problem for Walmart. If a child had picked it up, then Wurster is right — someone could have been seriously injured or even passed away as a result. But Taylor’s claims of being totally helpless seem immensely embellished, based on the pictures.

Walmart spokespeople responded: “The safety of our customers and associates is always a top priority. We completed a thorough investigation and have been unable to substantiate Ms. Taylor’s claims.”

This Is What Happens When You Break Probation — Even If You’re A Judge

Probation is a serious matter for those who have committed criminal offenses. These individuals have already been found guilty of a crime. Sometimes jail time is attached, and offenders are eventually released on probation. Other times, individuals without a criminal record will avoid incarceration and be released on probation. The consequences for probation violations aren’t pretty.

Probation violation consequences can be extreme even for those who usually seem above the law — like judges. When former Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio missed a couple of probation appointments with a court-appointed officer, the law was swift in its reply. Ontario County Court Judge Lisa Toole slammed Astacio with a whopping 180 days in jail.

Toole said, “I’m not happy about it. I’m not going to tolerate it. Your actions show you do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. It stops today and it stops now.”

The purpose of probation is to give offenders a second chance — which is why those who fail to deliver the promised lifestyle changes most often can expect immediate consequences, and severe ones at that.

Astacio failed to understand what the probation system means. She admitted that she intentionally missed the aforementioned appointments simply to get back in front of a judge. She wanted to use this strategy to argue that the previous sentence wasn’t legal and that she shouldn’t have to continue to serve it. 

But the previous ruling was made because of her continued failure to accept the restrictions placed upon her: she tried to buy a firearm from a local Dick’s Sporting Goods, failed an alcohol drug test in June, did not implement the mandated Ignition Interlock Program, and more. 

Senior Assistant District Attorney Chris Kvam of Monroe County said, “Everything that has happened to Ms. Astacio has happened because of her choice. Those choices started with her decision to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel. Those decisions continued after her sentence after her trial where she did not adhere to the restrictions of the interlock device and she put herself where she is today.”

The fact that even a judge can be slammed with probation violation should make other offenders more aware of the potential consequences for doing so.

Probation can be violated in a number of different ways. These include the possession or use of illegal substances, getting arrested for committing a crime, failing to appear for a court-mandated meeting, failing to report to a probation officer when scheduled, or visiting people or places that have been restricted in the probation order. Probation violation very often result in immediate incarceration.

Traveling Abroad: What Is A “Smart” Motorway?

Claire Mercer had no idea a routine farewell to her husband would be the last. Her husband Jason was dead only fifteen minutes after they shared what would be a final breakfast — killed by a massive tractor trailer traveling down a “smart motorway” that most British citizens would have recognized as a hard shoulder on the side of the highway.

He was 44 years old at the time of his death this past June.

Jason is also only one of five people who have been killed along that 16-mile smart motorway in the past year. The man who was operating the vehicle was temporarily put into police custody because of the incident, but he was released on bail. Claire isn’t blaming the 39-year-old man who killed her husband — she’s blaming Highways England, and suing for wrongful death.

Coroners who have to deal with the aftermath of these accidents agree that more people will wind up in the morgue if something isn’t done immediately. This was a direct response to the death of Dev Naran, an eight-year-old Leicester boy who died when his grandfather was forced to park on the shoulder.

Claire believes that normally dangerous roadways like these would force traffic organizations to search for ways to mitigate the danger and end the practice of smart motorways — but instead, new ones are popping up.

Smart motorways exist to increase the flow of traffic by opening up shoulders to vehicles. According to their creators, they use “traffic management” tech to manipulate traffic patterns along certain roads. These smart motorways use variable speed limits and remove the hard shoulder. The traffic management tech displays a red “X” above the lane if someone breaks down on the now open shoulder. 

Naturally, it doesn’t always work — and people are the ones paying the price.

Jason was in a small car accident. Six minutes later, his vehicle was still parked on the shoulder, but computers hadn’t registered the accident or displayed the red “X.”

And of course, one must wonder whether or not 100 percent of the vehicles on the road would be paying close enough attention to notice the “X” and avert a tragedy.

Opponents of smart motorways call them death traps.

Since these lanes have opened up to traffic, the entirety of motorway deaths has increased by a massive eight percent, which amounts to 107 fatalities in the last two years.

When traveling abroad, it’s important that Americans know about these smart motorways. It may just be best to avoid them completely. Finding compensation for accidents that occur in another country can be difficult and time-consuming, but it is possible. If you were in an accident in the United Kingdom, call a personal injury lawyer for a free consult.

What Should You Say To The Police When You Are Arrested On Suspicion Of DUI?

The short answer is easy: you should say nothing. Instead, ask for a lawyer. But of course the reality is never so simple. We always want to profess our innocence or provide details that might mitigate our guilt. Most first-time offenders don’t know enough to keep their mouths shut. Chances are if you’re on this page, you’re a first-time offender. You’ve already talked more than you should have talked. It’s okay. We’re here to provide you with the next steps.

There is no such thing as an amount of communication with the police that is too little or too much. It depends on the situation and the circumstances of your arrest. However, it is important to be as cooperative as you can throughout the process. If and when you sit down with a judge, the judge will likely ask the arresting officers what you’ve been like up until that point.

It stands to reason that if you were openly hostile during your arrest, you’re more likely to face more severe repercussions during arraignment. The judge can decide to release you almost immediately if you’re sober, or let you stew in jail. Your bail can be low, high, or non-existent. So much of what happens next depends on your attitude towards law enforcement.

Hopefully you will have a lawyer present for any subsequent interrogations or interviews. Whether or not you do, you should know that you always have the right to remain silent or withhold a comment in response to a question. An interviewer might twist your silence to mean guilt, but do not become agitated into making a confession or a statement that can be used against you later.

Do not lie to the police. You shouldn’t need to lie. Because you should avoid answering any question that might incriminate you. It’s easy to justify your decision to keep silent: you’re worried that the police might decide your guilt or innocence based on personality rather than on the facts, or that something you say might make it seem like you’re guilty of a crime even though you meant something completely different.

Your lawyer should be allowed to do much of the talking, and will direct you whether or not to answer specific questions.

After your arrest, you will want to write down every single detail of what happened from the moment of your arrest right up until your release. Were you read your Miranda rights? Believe it or not, it depends on when those rights were read. So don’t forget to write those details down! They’re very important for your eventual defense.

When Is It Okay To Place A Camera In A Nursing Home Resident’s Room?

The question might sound silly, but elder abuse is becoming a more commonly recognized problem in the United States. New laws and regulations are fighting to prevent this phenomenon, which occurs when an elderly person is taken advantage of in a way that could harm them physically or financially. It happens more often than you think. When your loved one is living in a nursing home, is it okay to use a camera to keep an eye on them?

In Minnesota a woman began to suspect her mother was the victim of elder abuse. She took it upon herself to place a camera in her mother’s nursing home room not only to keep an eye on her mother, but also to deter any potential illegal behavior from occurring in the first place. The staff of this particular nursing home wasn’t having it. While they didn’t actually remove the camera from the room, they did point it in the other direction during the course of their work.

When the woman discovered the camera was having no effect, she took her case to the Minnesota Department of Health. The organization acted on her formal complaint to provide her with the legal authority to keep the camera in the room, and prevent caretakers at the nursing home in question from tampering with the expensive device.

Despite the fact that Minnesota and most other states have not written laws to allow or prevent surveillance devices in the rooms of nursing home residents, that doesn’t make it illegal.

One of the problems that sometimes arise when a family member tries to place a camera in a nursing home bedroom is consent. Often, residents are graced with a roommate — and that means a camera meant to protect your loved one’s interests might inadvertently capture intimate footage of someone else’s loved one without formal consent. This can potentially create a serious privacy issue.

The ideal scenario is this: before trying to place a camera anywhere, make sure you at least try to acquire consent from all parties that may appear in the captured footage (including caretakers or nursing home management, and power of attorney if applicable). While not everyone may agree, you’ve at least performed your due diligence. You can proceed until the law says otherwise.

If you suspect your loved one is the victim of elder abuse, it may be time to contact a personal injury or elder abuse lawyer to explore your options. Cameras should only be considered as tools to gather evidence.

Common Mistakes With Personal Injury Claims

Injuries can be life-changing, and if you suffer from a serious injury then you are within your rights to claim compensation for any loss of earnings, medical costs, and personal distress. If your loved one died a wrongful, you are entitled to file a lawsuit even with a comprehensive estate plan. Money won’t undo the injury or death, but it can make life that little bit easier to cope with.

There is no guarantee that when you make a personal injury claim it will have the outcome you would like, but if you are able to word your claim properly and follow the correct procedures then you will have a better chance of making a successful claim. Here are three common mistakes which could hinder your personal injury claims:

1 – Neglecting to Seek Medical Care

Often, claimants put too much emphasis on how the injury has affected their day to day life, but they do not consider medical care. They will see the doctor when they are first injured, but not get follow-up appointments.

While it can be tempting to “soldier on”, it is not going to help you make a claim. You will be asked to provide evidence of any treatment you have had, and you will be asked to show the stress, anxiety, and depression you are facing. Seeing a doctor about those things is important so that you can get the documentation you will be asked to show.

2 – Failing to Keep Good Records

When you first get injured, you may not be thinking clearly, but you should try to keep some records. Take a photo of the accident scene, and document your injuries. Keep a record of the symptoms you experience, and get a copy of any police records as well. It’s better to have more evidence than they want than to be found lacking when your claim is examined.

3 – Posting Too Much on Social Media

Social media is still relatively new to a lot of people, and there is a tendency to overshare. If you go to the courts and tell them that you are experiencing pain and anxiety that is impacting your day to day life, but your social media profile paints a different picture, that could impact on the claim.

Rather than run the risk of a social media post being misinterpreted, it is far better to simply avoid sharing any more than you need to. Ask friends to keep you out of their posts as well. A single photo doesn’t show what your life is like on an hour by hour basis, but the insurers will try to paint a full story with it. Don’t take that risk.

If you have been injured due to an accident that was no fault of your own, contact our personal injury lawyers for a consultation regarding your case. Remember, we don’t get paid unless we win your case!

How Do You Know You’re The Victim Of A Serious Medical Malpractice Mistake?

Medical malpractice is a huge problem in the United States. Part of the blame should be on those who drafted some of the worst laws in the healthcare industry; namely that many of our healthcare providers must work twelve hour shifts for three days one week, and four days the next, or the asinine concept of mandation — that you must work overtime when your employer asks. These laws try to protect the patient, but sometimes all they do is more damage. 

We expect our healthcare providers to help more than they hurt, which is why we need to address this issue through the law. In New York, there are only about 85 medical malpractice claims paid out in the average year, per every million residents. That means people aren’t protecting themselves in court as often as they could, and courts aren’t siding with those who do as often as they should. Sometimes the statute of limitations has passed, but that isn’t always the case. Here are a few of the most common signs of a serious medical malpractice event:

  • Consent. If your doctor decides your life is in serious danger, he may perform a procedure without your consent. But when your doctor fails to obtain consent for a routine procedure performed under non life-threatening conditions, you have a medical malpractice lawsuit whether the operation went flawlessly or not.
  • Post-Op Pain. When you have lasting, atypical pain after a surgical procedure, it may be the result of medical malpractice. Surgeons have been known to leave instruments inside their patients, so it might be time to seek a second opinion!
  • Admission. Not all doctors who make mistakes will try to hide it, and while we give them credit for doing the right thing, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to compensation for whatever mistakes were made. Sit down to a free consultation with a lawyer to decide whether or not you want to pursue a lawsuit.
  • Anesthesia. Many medical malpractice lawsuits are the result of a patient waking up during surgery. This isn’t always worthy of a case, because the anesthesiologist’s job is extremely difficult and requires calculating the right amount of anesthesia for a patient depending on complicated factors like weight, age, prescription drugs or supplements, smoking, and alcoholism. The list goes on. But if you wake up during surgery, the experience can be traumatic.

  • Misdiagnosis. This is a big one, because it can lead to incorrectly prescribed medications as well. First, the undetected disease can become much worse, even life-threatening, while you make repeated trips to the doctors. Second, wrongly prescribed medications can have a detrimental effect on your health or even make your condition worse.

Premise Liability: Negligent Security

If you have been injured due to criminal activity there may be another party who can be held liable for your injuries. Negligent security is a form of premise liability that helps victims of crimes seek compensation from property owners whose actions (or inactions) led to the criminal activity. Property owners must provide a reasonable duty of care such as protecting visitors from crimes by third parties. Negligent security cases are only viable if it can be shown that foreseeable criminal activity could have been prevented by appropriate security measures.

It might be more common sense to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of the crime, however, if the criminal isn’t caught or doesn’t have assets, damages will be minimal if any at all. By filing a premise liability lawsuit against the property owner, they are more likely to have an insurance policy that covers liability. Therefore, you are really suing his insurance company. In order to be able to file, it must be shown that you suffered actual damages such as medical expenses, loss of income, lost future earning potential and pain and suffering.

Another thing that needs to be proven is whether or not the crime was foreseeable. If crime is prevalent in the location and nothing has been done to rectify the situation then the crime could have been foreseeable. However, if this was the first time a crime was committed on the property, it will be hard to show that the crime was foreseeable. Adequate security also varies from case to case but includes things such as security patrols, lighting, locks and restricted number of keys.

Certain states have safety measures that businesses must comply with to avoid being held liable in a crime. These include security cameras, safety cash drop boxes as well as having cash registers with a limit to how much money is in it. If the business fails to meet these standards than it can be held liable.