When a person is injured or killed due to the negligence or reckless behavior of another person or party, the victim or the victim's family may be entitled to compensation. Here is an overview of recent personal injury cases that have resulted in favorable settlements or verdicts for plaintiffs.
Jury Awards $3.4 Million in Auto Accident Wrongful Death Suit
Wilton, CT - A widow was awarded $3,375,000 in a wrongful death lawsuit involving an intoxicated driver who caused a head-on collision with a motorcyclist.
Thomas Fleming, 50, was killed in July of 2009 while riding his Harley-Davidson on a Connecticut road. His motorcycle was struck head-on when Gregory Dionisio, then 21, came around a turn and crossed the double yellow lines separating the lanes.
According to Dionisio's arrest affidavit, his urine test was positive for cocaine, amphetamines and marijuana. His blood alcohol level was determined to be at .09 percent, just over the legal limit.
Testimony from Dionisio's criminal court case revealed that he had a history of drug problems.
Dionisio accepted a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to charges of driving under the influence and manslaughter with a motor vehicle. He received a five-year prison sentence.
In Dionisio's civil hearing, the jury deliberated for less than two hours before awarding Fleming's widow almost $3.4 million.
City to Pay $2 Million for Pedestrian Accident Suit
Durham, NC - City officials have reached a $2 million settlement with a man who suffered serious brain damage after being hit by a Water Management Department truck.
Reyes Abreo Gonzalez, 61, was injured in December of 2012 as he was walking through a pedestrian crosswalk in accordance with traffic signals. As the driver of the truck was making a left turn, he hit Gonzalez.
The impact of the collision put Gonzalez in a coma for nine days; Gonzales suffered severe brain damage, internal injuries, and leg fractures as a result of the accident.
Half of the settlement will be covered by the city's insurance liability policy. The other half will be funded through the city's risk-management reserve, which is funded by taxpayers.
Boat Ramp Accident Results in $560,000 Settlement
Smithtown, OH - City officials approved a $560,000 settlement with the families of two men who died after accidentally driving onto a boat ramp and plunging into the Nissequogue River.
Ryan Colvin, 25, and Robert Ungerer, 24, were driving during a rain storm in March of 2008 when Ungerer drove onto the ramp and into the river. The families of the men filed wrongful death suits against the city, alleging "negligent design, placement, and maintenance of a roadway and the signs," and negligent design, placement, and maintenance of the ramp. There were no barriers or obstructions to the boat ramp's entrance.
The city claimed that Ungerer was intoxicated at the time of the accident. However, attorneys for the victim's families argued that the toxicology reports were inaccurate because Ungerer's body had been in the river for 38 days before being recovered. During this time, the decomposing body was likely to produce ethanol, which can result in a false positive for alcohol tests.
City officials unanimously decided to settle the case rather than go to trial.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident, contact a personal injury attorney for a case evaluation.
Employers are obligated to maintain a safe workplace for their employees, but many fail to do so, and workers are injured every year as a result. Use this list to identify workplace hazards and determine whether you may be at risk. If you have already suffered an injury in the workplace, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and other losses.
Defective or Hazardous Equipment
One of the most common causes of workplace injuries is defective or hazardous equipment. Equipment may be hazardous if it is poorly designed, manufactured, assembled, or repaired. Anything from complicated heavy machinery and power tools to ladders and scaffolds can cause a disabling or fatal injury given the right circumstances. These types of accidents are particularly common at construction and mining sites.
Many workers are exposed to toxic substances. Employees whose jobs involve working with toxic substances have a right to appropriate safeguards so they are not at an unnecessary risk for illness or injury. For example, many workers in the asbestos industry were exposed to unsafe levels of asbestos during the 20th century and are now developing mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other conditions as a result.
Workers whose jobs require them to perform one or more characteristic repetitive motions are at risk of injury. Carpal tunnel syndrome from typing is a well-known example of a repetitive motion injury that may impair a person’s ability to perform their job.
Motor Vehicle Mishaps
Motor vehicles are integral to many peoples’ jobs, and where there are motor vehicles, there is always a risk. These accidents may be caused by reckless drivers or by equipment malfunctions. They are often serious and occasionally deadly.
Insufficient Safety Guidelines
All workplaces are required to establish and enforce appropriate safety guidelines in order to protect their employees. Workplaces that fail to do so are nearly always hazardous.
Many workers are injured each year because they or their co-workers do not receive the training necessary to foster a safe workplace. All employers are obligated to train their employees thoroughly in order to avoid injuries. Workers who are undertrained or asked to perform duties for which they are unqualified put themselves and others at risk.
Reckless Co-worker Conduct
Employees can injure their co-workers when they behave recklessly or under the influence in spite of thorough safety training and appropriate guidelines. In these cases, the reckless individuals can be held responsible, but so can their supervisors and those who hired them.
Locate an Attorney Who Will Fight for You
If you have been injured on the job, it is important that you seek legal assistance. Locate an attorney in your area today who can help to protect your rights.
In this auto accident roundup, we take a closer look at three auto accident cases that recently resulted in multi-million dollar jury verdicts.
Jury Awards $8 Million in Illinois Semi-truck Accident Case
Cook County, Illinois - An $8 million verdict was awarded to the family of a woman who was killed after pulling over to the side of the road with a flat tire and getting hit by a semi-truck.
In February of 2010, Stacey McHale, then 36, had just pulled onto the shoulder of I-294 to check to see if she had a flat tire when she was fatally struck by an 18-wheel semi tractor-trailer. McHale was a wife and the mother of two children.
McHale's estate filed a lawsuit against Transfreight, a third-party transportation provider; Kiswani Trucking Inc., a trucking and transportation company; and Russell A. Kleppe, the driver of the truck. The jury found all three parties liable for the accident that killed McHale.
During the trial, which was tried in the Cook County Circuit Court under Judge William J. Haddad, attorneys for Transfreight argued that the corporation was not responsible for the accident. However, the jury contended that Kiswani and Kleppe were acting on behalf of the company, and found all three defendants liable.
Jury Finds Philadelphia Toyota Dealer Liable for $15.7 Million
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - A jury found a Toyota car dealership liable for $15.7 million for six passengers who were injured in a car accident.
In March of 2008, Dr. Noreen Lewis rented a Toyota Sienna minivan through PhillyCarShare so she could take her family on a trip to see her daughter's school play. While driving the vehicle, the check engine light came on and Lewis felt that there were problems with the steering wheel. She called PhillyCarShare, which offered to pay for any service needed if she brought the car to an auto service shop. Lewis and several members of her family were their way to have the car checked when the steering wheel locked and the car skidded across the road, into a ditch, and flipped several times.
Lewis suffered permanent injuries, including a fractured spine and serious cardiac contusion. She is no longer able to practice medicine or work in any other position due to her disabilities.
Lewis filed suit against PhillyCarShare and Central City Toyota, alleging that the companies failed to properly maintain the minivan, per state law.
During the trial, plaintiff's attorneys showed that a worn and deteriorated ball joint caused the crash. According to expert testimony, it takes a long time for the ball joint to wear down. The jury in the case found Central City Toyota liable for the injuries because PhillyCarShare outsources vehicle maintenance; therefore the car dealership was the sole party responsible for the maintenance of the vehicle.
The jury awarded $11.4 to Lewis and $4.3 to five passengers in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
New Jersey Jury Awards $4.2 Million in Nissan Accident Case
Essex County, New Jersey - A jury found Nissan liable for $4.2 million in a case in which a man was injured after a tire flew off a truck and struck the roof of his Nissan Altima.
Larry Clanton, 52, was injured in July of 2006 when a heavy tire cracked the roof of his car while he was driving. The force of the impact pushed his head forward, resulting in serious injuries.
Clanton filed a product liability suit against Nissan and his attorney argued that the roof's header panel was not properly attached to the roof of the vehicle.
Nissan attorneys argued that the high speeds of the tire and vehicle would have resulted in roof damage no matter what.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, contact an attorney for a case review.
A 12-car crash that occurred in the final lap of a second-tier race at Daytona caused a racer's car to go airborne, sending large pieces of debris into the stands; 33 spectators were injured.
Two fans were listed in critical condition on Saturday, the day of the crash; their condition was upgraded to stable on Sunday. Others were treated on the scene or at the hospital.
The incident raises the possibility of personal injury litigation against NASCAR, the Daytona International Speedway, and the International Speedway Corporation. However, these parties have adopted measures to protect themselves from personal injury liability at sporting events.
Admission Ticket Disclaimers
The disclaimers on the Daytona admissions tickets warn spectators of the risk of injury:
"The holder of this ticket expressly assumes all risk incident to the event, whether occurring prior to, during or subsequent to the actual event, and agrees that all participants, sanctioning bodies, and all employees, agents, officers, and directors of Daytona International Speedway, its affiliates and subsidiaries, are hereby released from any and all claims arising from the event, including claims of negligence."
In fact, it is a widespread practice for owners of sports businesses and complexes to include this type of language on ticket stubs. This type of disclaimer is common on admissions tickets to baseball fields, hockey stadiums, and ski resorts. The use of disclaimers can waive owner's liability in some cases, but it does not absolve them of the responsibility of maintaining a safe environment for ticket buyers.
Possible Personal Injury Claims
The owners and organizers of sporting events should enact appropriate measures to keep fans as safe as possible. In the Daytona case, personal injury attorneys for the injured spectators would want to determine if fencing of an adequate strength was used, and if the seats were an appropriate distance from the racetrack. If attorneys could show that the fencing was not strong enough or that the seats were in a dangerous location and that organizers of the race were aware of these problems, the injured fans may have a viable personal injury case. It is important to note that the plaintiffs would be required to show that NASCAR, the Daytona International Speedway, and/or the International Speedway Corporation acted negligently.
Injured fans may have a viable product liability case if their attorneys could show that the company hired to build the safety fence did not construct a strong enough barrier.
According to Securities and Exchange Commission Filings, NASCAR tracks are required to have a $50 million insurance policy to cover injuries suffered by spectators.
Yet, court documents show that public personal injury lawsuits are rarely filed against the International Speedway Corporation.
Legal experts say that large companies such as the International Speedway Corporation are more likely to offer substantial, confidential settlements upfront to avoid the negative publicity that comes with a public lawsuit.
If you have been seriously injured at a sporting event, it is in your best interest to obtain the legal guidance of a qualified personal injury attorney. Contact a personal injury lawyer today.
The unintended acceleration problems that have plagued Toyota for the last four years have cost the company billions of dollars in legal fees. Throughout all of the cases, however, Toyota has stood behind the safety of its electronic throttle control system. Today, no evidence has been found indicating a defect with the electronic throttle control system. Instead, the acceleration problems have been blamed on driver error, sticky gas pedals, and incompatible floor mats.
September, 2010: $10 Million Settlement in the San Diego Wrongful Death Case
Toyota's acceleration issues gained widespread attention after a Toyota-made Lexus accelerated to speeds of more than 120 mph, resulting in an accident and the death of four passengers in August of 2009. California Highway Patrol officer Mark Saylor was driving the vehicle, which was on loan from a local dealership while his car was in for repairs. With him were his wife and daughter, along with his brother-in-law Christopher Lastrella.
According to a 911 call Lastrella made shortly before the accident occurred, the Lexus began accelerating on its own. Attempts to brake and slow the vehicle were unsuccessful. As the Lexus approached a busy intersection, it hit a car, careened over an embankment, and flew through the air before rolling into a field and catching fire.
The San Diego Sheriff's Department determined that the floor mats that were installed by the dealership were incompatible and installed incorrectly, trapping the accelerator.
But plaintiff attorneys and safety advocates have argued that the electronic throttle control system may be defective, resulting in acceleration problems. Government data showing that unintended acceleration occurs more frequently in Toyota vehicles, along with personal accounts of the problem from Toyota drivers, supported these claims.
Toyota has maintained that faulty floor mats, sticky gas pedals, and driver error caused the San Diego accident, as well as any other cases of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.
The families of the victims agreed to a $10 million settlement with Toyota in September of 2010. In the agreement, all product liability claims against Toyota were dropped.
December, 2012: $1.1 Billion Class Action Settlement in Economic Losses Case
After the Saylor accident, Toyota recalled more than 5.3 million cars for floor mat problems, and more than 2.75 million for sticky gas pedals. The company was fined more than $66 million by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for not addressing the acceleration issues sooner. Hundreds of consumers filed lawsuits against the company claiming economic losses due to the acceleration problems; these lawsuits were consolidated into a class action suit.
In December of 2012, Toyota opted to settle the class action suit for $1.1 billion. The terms of the settlement include new safety systems and reimbursement of up to 16 million cars, including:
The installation of brake-override equipment on 3.25 million vehicles
Extended warranties for certain components, including engine control modules
Owners of Toyota vehicles who sold their cars or turned in their leases between Sept. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010 due to poor publicity are eligible for cash payment
If the brake-override system can't be installed in the Toyota vehicle, the owner is eligible for cash payment
New driver education programs
Funding for safety technology research
Although Toyota agreed to the settlement, the company has not issued any admission of fault in the acceleration cases. Toyota has maintained that driver error, thick floor mats, and sticky accelerators were the causal factors for the problem, not an electronic defect; the government agreed with Toyota.
January, 2013: Undisclosed Settlement in Utah Wrongful Death and Injury Case
Although Toyota settled cases regarding economic losses due to the acceleration issues, there are still hundreds of injury and wrongful death cases pending against Toyota. One of the bellwether cases involves an accident that killed two and injured two others.
In November of 2010, Paul Van Alfen was driving a Toyota Camry on the highway when it began to accelerate. As he exited the freeway, Van Alfen unsuccessfully attempted to stop the vehicle. The car ran a stop sign, went through an intersection, and crashed into a wall. The accident killed Van Alfen and his son's fiancé, and injured his wife and son.
According to the Utah Highway Patrol, a sticky gas pedal caused the crash.
The settlement will not affect pending injury and wrongful death lawsuits, but legal observers say it could be an indication of how other cases will fare.
However, Toyota officials said they might settle certain injury and wrongful death cases, but also expect a chance to defend their products at trial.
"We sympathize with anyone in an accident involving one of our vehicles," a Toyota statement said, "however we continue to stand fully behind the safety and integrity of Toyota's electronic throttle control system, which multiple independent evaluations have confirmed as safe."
In the aftermath of a truck accident, victims may be confused about how to proceed. Below we offer answers to some frequently asked questions about accidents involving large trucks; however, there is no substitute for the advice of a skilled attorney who can answer any concerns you may have and help you understand your legal rights.
Why is a trucking accident case different from an auto accident case?
Many factors make a trucking accident lawsuit distinct from an auto accident suit. Because most truck drivers are engaged in a job-related activity at the time of the collisions, their employer bears responsibility for ensuring their drivers are properly trained and operating within the limits of the law. Truck drivers are also required to carry higher amounts of insurance coverage and adhere to stricter safety standards.
Why are accidents involving commercial trucks more dangerous?
The typical passenger vehicle weighs 3,000 pounds, while a commercial truck can weigh between 10,000 and 80,000 pounds. This significant size disparity can make accidents involving big rigs or semi trucks and standard passenger vehicles much more dangerous for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
What should I do after a semi truck or big rig accident?
Motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks are common causes of personal injury. Knowing how to proceed after an accident is an important way to ensure your safety and rights are protected. You may also want to contact an attorney for an evaluation of your case.
When should I contact an attorney?
After an accident involving a large truck occurs, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Each state has time deadlines that limit the amount of time you have to file a claim. An attorney can start working right away to investigate your case and preserve essential evidence.
What types of compensation can be recovered?
If you have been injured or a family member has been injured or killed in a trucking accident, you may be eligible to recover damages for past and future loss of wages, physical impairment or disfigurement, decreased quality of life, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and reimbursement of past and future medical expenses or funeral expenses.
What is a semi truck "no-zone"?
The "no-zone" is the term for the areas behind and beside a commercial vehicle where the driver has extremely limited or no visibility. Driving in the no-zone can substantially increase your chances of being in an accident and should be avoided whenever possible.
What are some of the common factors in accidents involving big rigs?
Inadequate driver training, excessive speed, mechanical failure, and poor visibility are common factors in collisions involving large trucks. Read more about these and other common causes of trucking accidents.
How do I choose an attorney to handle my case?
Check the credentials of any attorneys you meet with, and be sure to discuss fees, trial experience with your type of case, and other concerns. Trust your judgment. You should select a lawyer in your area that you feel comfortable with and who is able to answer your questions openly, honestly, and respectfully.
Auto accident cases in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Utah resulted in millions of dollars worth of personal injury settlements in the past few weeks.
$4 Million Settlement in Connecticut Police Cruiser Accident
A $4 million settlement has been obtained in a Connecticut auto accident case that resulted in the death of a teenage couple after the car they were driving was hit by a police officer.
Ashlie M. Krakowski, who was 19 when she died, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by David Servin,19, who was also killed in the collision. A Milford police car going more than 90 miles per hour broadsided their car.
Jason Anderson, the police officer who was driving the police cruiser, was returning from a disturbance call when the accident occurred. The police department fired him six months after the incident occurred.
On November 7, Anderson was found guilty of misconduct with a motor vehicle and reckless driving, and not guilty of two counts of second-degree manslaughter. He will be sentenced on January 16, and could receive up to 10 years in prison.
Krakowski's estate will receive $2.8 million, while $1.2 million will go to legal fees. The city's insurance carrier will pay $3.5 million.
The insurance carrier for the parent's of David Servin will pay the remaining $500,000. During Anderson's trial, his lawyer intended to show evidence that Servin and Krakowski had been drinking, and that Servin was in possession of marijuana.
In March, the Servins obtained a $2.5 million settlement in their suit against the city and Anderson.
New Jersey Family of Quadriplegic Man Obtains $2 Million Settlement
A New Jersey family has obtained a $2 million settlement for an accident that left a young man paralyzed. The case was settled while the jury was deliberating on the case after a lengthy, weeks' long trial.
The family and attorneys of James Griffin, 26, claimed that an improperly maintained county road caused the car accident that left Griffin quadriplegic. The suit says that Griffin lost control of his car and was hit by an oncoming vehicle due to a pool of water that had formed in the road as a result of poor drainage.
County attorneys say there is a lack of evidence showing that a large puddle of water had developed in the road, and that the county regularly inspects and maintains the roadways.
The settlement does not indicate any admission of fault for the county.
Motorcycle Accident Victim Obtains Settlement from the State
The state of Utah agreed to a $648,700 settlement for a college student who was struck by a maintenance vehicle while riding his motorcycle on the Utah Valley University campus.
Parker Eads was injured when a driver of a maintenance truck made an improper turn, hitting Eads and throwing him under another vehicle. The accident resulted in serious injuries to Eads' right leg. He underwent several surgeries before the leg was amputated below the knee.
The settlement, which is the maximum under Utah's liability caps, was awarded to cover the costs of Eads' medical expenses relating to the crash. According to state law, legislators must approve settlements over $500,000; in this case, the approval vote was unanimous.
Read about two auto accident cases that were recently settled in Washington state and California.
A $6 Million Settlement in Dump Truck Crash Case
A Washington family was awarded a $6 million settlement for injuries that resulted when a dump truck that was loaded beyond capacity crashed into their broken down car.
The accident occurred on Feb. 8, 2010, when the family's car became disabled. The mother, who was driving, pulled the vehicle to the right of the road and came to a stop alongside the highway barrier; there was no shoulder. According to reports, she turned on her hazard lights and called a tow truck company.
Soon after, a dump truck hit the back of the family's vehicle, pushing it more than 200 yards forward and causing multiple collisions with the barrier.
The crash resulted in serious injuries for the son and daughter, including skull fractures, broken bones, and other serious injuries.
A state investigation found that the driver of the dump truck acted negligently in his failure to avoid the car. In addition, it was found that the dump truck was over capacity, with more than 22,000 pounds of excess weight.
Attorneys for the family obtained the $6 million settlement from the trucking company's insurance company. After attorney fees, the majority of the settlement, $4.3 million, will go to the son. About $800,000 will go to the daughter, with the remaining amount going to the parents.
A separate lawsuit against the company that overloaded the dump truck is pending.
Wrong Way Crash Results in $4.8 Million Settlement
A $4.8 million settlement has been obtained in a California wrong way accident that resulted in two fatalities and two serious injuries.
The accident took place on November 8, 2009, when a driver heading the wrong way on the freeway crashed head-on into a vehicle driven by Marcos Arredondo, 18. Arredondo and a passenger were killed. Arredondo's two sisters, who were sitting in the back seat, suffered permanent injuries.
The wrong way driver, Richard Rodriguez, was convicted of driving under the influence and traveling the wrong way on the freeway; he received a 13-year state prison sentence and was ordered to pay restitution.
This lawsuit, however, named the county and the Sheriff's Department. The claim alleged that the sheriff's department failed to adequately train officers to handle wrong way drivers.
According to the suit, the sheriff deputy did not turn on his flashing lights or signals as he slowly merged onto the freeway. After a car driven by Arredondo's father, Jose, and Marcos Arredondo's cars passed the sheriff, the sheriff turned on his lights and sirens. Jose Arredondo thought he was being pulled over, and moved out of the lane as Rodriguez's car came through and hit the vehicle driven by Marcos Arredondo.
A representative for the sheriff's department stated that the deputy involved in the case properly followed policy and that the department and county are not admitting to any wrongdoing for the accident.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a personal injury attorney for a review of your case.
In this personal injury news round-up, we examine a motorcycle case that reaped a settlement of almost $2 million, a police chase auto accident case that resulted in a $1.3 million settlement, and a bicycle accident hit-and-run case that led to a $635,000 settlement.
Motorcycle Accident Victim Wins $1.9 Million Settlement
The Catholic Diocese of Joliet was found liable for a $1.9 million settlement, which was awarded to an Illinois man who was injured in a 2006 motorcycle accident.
Father Raymond Garbin was driving a car owned by the Catholic Diocese of Joliet when he hit the back of the motorcycle driven by Bill Egbert, a former police officer. At the time, Egbert was stopped at a red light. Though Egbert was wearing a helmet, he sustained a closed head injury and other injuries when the impact caused him to slam into the car's windshield.
Garbin was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
The settlement between the two parties was reached when the case was pending before Judge Susan O'Leary in the Circuit Court of Will County.
Police Chase Accident Results in $1.36 Million Settlement
Taxpayers in Chicago will pay $1.36 million to a man who suffered serious injuries when a driver who was being chased by police hit his car.
William Kurtz' vehicle was hit head-on when Pablo Mendoza drifted across the center line while the police were pursuing him. Kurtz suffered major injuries to the feet and legs, which affect his ability to walk and cause chronic pain. As a result of his injuries, Kurtz was no longer able to keep his job as a towing company maintenance supervisor.
According to testimony on the case, the police officers involved in the police chase did not notify their supervisor that they believed Mendoza was intoxicated. The supervisor told the police officers to stop the pursuit, but the officers said they never heard the request because they were not tuned into dispatch radio communications.
A previous accident involving a 1999 police chase resulted in the establishment of a policy that requires police officers to obtain approval from a supervisor before engaging in a pursuit, and to stop the chase when the offender does not obey traffic signals.
Upon review of the case, a City Council committee approved the settlement in Kurtz' favor.
Family Receives $635,000 Settlement in Hit-and-Run Case
A $635,000 settlement has been awarded to a 13-year-old Pennsylvania boy who was riding his bike when he was struck by a car that fled the scene.
Richard Hollawell was injured in 2009 when Suzanne Lammers hit him, and then left the scene without checking on his welfare. She later told police that she thought she hit a deer, but her car revealed front-end damage consistent with the case.
Lammers was subsequently charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing injury and sentenced to 90 days in prison, which she served.
If you have been injured in an auto accident of any kind, it is important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, it is important to know how to proceed afterwards. Because a commercial truck may soon travel to another state after an accident occurs, it is crucial to immediately document the collision fully, in as great detail as possible. Evidence that may be pivotal to accurately documenting the accident can disappear rapidly, lessening your chances of successfully obtaining proper compensation.
At the Scene of A Trucking Accident
At the scene of an auto or semi truck accident, you should first be sure that any and all injured parties receive medical attention. Disabled vehicles should be moved from traffic if it is possible to do so without risking further injury. By law, all involved parties must provide their names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information.
In addition, it may be helpful to do the following:
Obtain names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of any witnesses
Obtain the names of all police officers who responded to the accident
Photograph the locations of the vehicles involved and any visible damage
Photograph skid marks, debris, or other evidence, if available
Record the exact location and time of day the accident occurred
Note the weather and road conditions, traffic signs, and other relevant information
Contact your insurance company as soon as you are able, from the scene of the accident if possible
For your protection, do not admit fault at any time. When speaking with police, other parties involved in the accident, or bystanders, do not volunteer any information other than what is requested of you and required by law. Do not discuss your state of mind, personal condition, or any matters unrelated to the accident itself. These precautions will help minimize the chances of legal difficulties. If you have been injured, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable truck accident personal injury attorney as soon as possible to investigate the accident and preserve valuable evidence.
Locate a Qualified Attorney near You
Informed trucking accident attorneys are dedicated to assisting victims and their families move forward and helping them understand the immediate and long-term steps to take to help ensure safety and provide protection from a legal standpoint.
Schools, churches, and other community organizations often use 15 passenger vans to transport large numbers of passengers and cargo. The prevalence of these vehicles on our roads and their frequent use for transporting youths and children has led many people assume that the proper measures have been taken to ensure safe travel. Unfortunately, there are a number of design flaws that can contribute to the serious injury or death of passengers in 15 passenger vans. Furthermore, many drivers of these vans have had no additional training regarding the safe operation of larger vehicles. These factors combine to make 15 passenger vans among the most unsafe vehicles on our roads.
Common 15 Passenger Risks
Over- or Under-inflated Tires
The majority of auto accidents associated with 15 passenger vans occur when tires are either over- or under-inflated, causing the driver to lose control and possibly roll the vehicle. While driver awareness of this issue would certainly help reduce the number of accidents caused by improper tire inflation, an electronic stability control system would also greatly reduce the potential of serious rollover accidents. Unfortunately, this feature is not currently required to be added to new vehicles.
Heavy or Unbalanced Load
Another common cause of 15 passenger van rollovers is a heavy or unbalanced load in the vehicle or strapped to the roof. Though these vehicles are designed and marketed to accommodate larger numbers of passengers and cargo than most private vehicles, safety experts attest that it is not, in fact, safe to operate these vans with a full passenger load. Furthermore, the addition of cargo to the back or to the top of the van leads to increased instability and can heighten the risk of a rollover.
Common 15 Passenger Accident Injuries
Injuries suffered during a 15 passenger van rollover accident can be especially severe due to the large, open cabin configuration and the tendency of van passengers not to use seatbelts. Many victims of 15 passenger vans suffer burn injuries, head trauma, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries that could lead to a lifetime of disability. Transportation safety experts suggest that drivers of 15 passenger vans attend special training so that they are made aware of the safety risks associated with these vehicles. It is crucial that drivers and owners of 15 passenger vans take the safety of their passengers into their own hands, research the flaws that compromise vehicle safety, and strive to provide the safest transport possible.
Contact a Lawyer
Although 15 passenger vans are a common site on American roads, the dangers associated with these vehicles are so severe that the NHTSA recently banned the use of 15 passenger vans for the transportation of students. While the government and auto manufacturers are well aware of the design flaws that contribute to deadly 15 passenger van accidents, most drivers and passengers in these vehicles are not. If you or someone you care about has been injured as a result of a 15 passenger van accident, you may be entitled to compensation for damages.
A jury awarded a Maryland family $760,000 for an auto accident that resulted in the death of their daughter and sister; Progressive insurance, the victim's insurance company, is liable for the award.
Kaitlynn Fisher, 24, was killed in Baltimore in June of 2010 when another driver allegedly ran a red light. The other driver's insurance company, Nationwide, settled with the Fisher estate soon after the accident occurred. However, the other driver was underinsured, and the Nationwide payment did not meet the terms listed in Fisher's policy.
Fisher's insurance policy with Progressive included coverage against the possibility of an accident with an underinsured driver; this meant that Progressive was responsible for the difference between the amount paid out by Nationwide and the value of Fisher's policy.
However, Progressive did not pay the difference because of the possibility that Fisher was at-fault for the accident. In Maryland, state law requires the use of contributory negligence to resolve civil lawsuits; if a person is found to be negligent in any way, they are not entitled to a recovery.
The Court Case
The Fisher family decided to take the case to court so a jury could determine if their daughter was at fault. A suit was filed against the driver of the other vehicle to establish 100 percent negligence, and Progressive was listed as a co-defendant in the case.
The jury found in Fisher's favor and awarded the family $760,000. However, the Fishers and their attorney point out that Progressive worked to defend the other driver to avoid paying on Fisher's policy.
"Progressive did everything in their power to show that their own insured did something wrong. They were fighting against the person who paid them premiums," Allen W. Cohen, the Fisher's attorney said.
According to Fisher's brother, Progressive's attorney gave an opening statement to the jury stating that the defendant should not be found negligent, cross-examined the plaintiff's witnesses, called a witness to the stand who claimed that Fisher ran a red light, and made objections on behalf of the defendant.
According to Chris Wolf, a Progressive claims general manager, stated that Progressive was not serving as the defendant's lawyer.
"To be very clear, Progressive did not serve as the attorney for the defendant in this case. He was defended by his insurance company, Nationwide. There was a question as to who was at fault, and a jury decided in the Fisher family's favor just last week. We respect the verdict and now can continue to work with the Fisher family to reach a resolution," Wolf said.
The Burden of Proof
According to insurance law and legal experts, Progressive may have been following state laws regarding underinsured drivers. Unfortunately, all too often, the burden of proving that the other driver was at fault falls on the insured and their attorneys.
This case highlights how complicated auto accident cases can be. If you have been injured, or some you love has been killed, in an auto accident, it is in your best interest to hire a skilled attorney who can help you obtain entitled damages from your insurance company, the other driver's insurance company, or any other party that may be liable for the accident.
Social security disability provides an important benefit for individuals who, due to injury or illness, are unable to work and as a result cannot provide for themselves or their dependents. However, many first-time applicants are denied their social security disability benefits. Hiring an attorney to help you file and follow up on your claim may increase your chances of obtaining benefits.
What Assistance Do Social Security Disability Lawyers Provide?
Social security disability is a program that allows individuals who are unable to work and earn a living wage to receive monetary compensation to meet the needs of day to day living. For some individuals, the application process can be lengthy and confusing. Social security disability attorneys assist individuals in filing their initial claim, as well as those already in the midst of the appeal process.
Though social security disability attorneys are not necessary to file benefit claims, having their knowledge and experience on your side can have a considerable impact on the success of the claim. Research indicates that more successful claims are filed by social security disability lawyers than by the individual claimants themselves.
Social Security Disability Benefits Categories
Social security disability benefits are divided into five major categories in which you may qualify:
Disability Insurance Benefits: This benefit provides compensation for individuals who have been gainfully employed for five of the previous 10 years before suffering the disability.
Disabled Widow's and Widower's Benefits: This benefit is paid to the surviving spouse who is beyond 50 years of age, provided the deceased was properly insured under social security.
Disabled Adult Child Benefits: This benefit is provided to adult children whose disability occurred before the age of 22.
Supplemental Security Income: This type of benefit is given to individuals who are disabled and come from underprivileged society.
SSI Children's Disability Benefits: This benefit provides compensation for disabled children under 18 years of age.
The Social Security Disability Process
Claiming social security disability benefits begins with submitting an application. An attorney can assist you in properly filing the required paperwork, complete with documentation to prove the existence of the disability. In many cases, without representation, most initial applications are denied. Should your initial application be denied, you it is in your best interest to have an expert social security disability lawyer to guide you through the appeal process that will follow.
In the event that your claim is denied upon unfounded grounds or you do not receive the appropriate compensation to which you are entitled, a social security disability attorney will further pursue this act of insurance bad faith.
Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer
You do not have to suffer alone. A social security disability attorney will have many years experience representing individuals requiring compensation for their disabilities. If you need assistance with your social security disability claim, contact a social security disability attorney in your area. A lawyer may be able to help you obtain the social security disability benefits to which you are entitled.
In this personal injury news round up, we feature two wrongful death cases that involve auto accidents with a police vehicle.
The Family of LAPD Crash Victim Reaches $6.6 Million Settlement with the City
The city of Los Angeles will pay $6.6 million to settle a case in which a speeding police car killed a woman.
Jovanna Lugo, 27, was pulling out of her driveway in April of 2010 when a police car driven by Officer Richard Brubaker broadsided her vehicle. Brubaker and his partner were responding to a report of a possible stolen car, they were not using their emergency lights, and therefore were not allowed to exceed the speed limit.
According to Lugo's attorneys and a confidential city report obtained by the Los Angeles Times, other drivers and the crash reconstruction estimated that the police car was speeding, going about 70 miles per hour.
Further, according to the report, witnesses claim that the police vehicle's headlights were turned off. Investigators found the headlight switch in the off position. When Brubaker was asked about the headlights being off, he said that he turned them off after the accident. However, investigators found that the airbag powder and debris on the headlight switch was undisturbed, leading authorities to believe that the headlight switch was not used after the accident.
The officers involved in the accident alleged that Lugo tried to make an illegal U-turn, contributing to the crash. However, no evidence was found to support this claim.
An attorney for the city asked the LA city council to approve the $6.6 million settlement, as additional court costs and a jury verdict could exceed that amount.
"If the jury finds the defendants liable for wrongful death, the jury will award a figure in the multiple millions of dollars," Deputy City Atty. John Wright wrote in the report.
Indiana Family Settles with City for $1.55 Million in Motorcycle Accident Case
The family of a motorcyclist who was killed when he was hit by a police cruiser has reached a settlement with the city of Indianapolis; the city will pay $1.55 million to the victim's widow and his parents.
Eric Wells, 30, was waiting at an intersection with other motorcyclists in August of 2010 when a police vehicle driven by Officer David Bisard struck the group. Wells died and the two other victims, Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly, suffered injuries; Mills and Weekly's suits against the city are pending.
In Wells' civil lawsuit, attorneys state that the city and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department are liable for damages because Bisard was "grossly negligent" in causing the accident and the victim's death.
According to Wells' attorneys, Bisard was grossly negligent because he was intoxicated, speeding, driving recklessly, using a police vehicle that was not dispatched to him, and using the in-car computer for personal business. They also allege that police officers that arrived on the scene failed to follow proper procedures because they did not require Bisard to submit to a breath test at the scene of the accident.
Two hours after the accident, a blood test that was taken in which Bisard reported a blood-alcohol level of 0.19. However, a judge ruled the test inadmissible because an unauthorized individual took the sample. A second vial of blood was taken, but it was left out of the refrigerator for about 22 weeks.
Although Bisard's civil case is moving through the settlement process, he still faces criminal charges, including reckless homicide, as a result of the accident.
In this DUI news round-up, we take a closer look at a case in which an extra on a movie set suffered a serious brain injury, and a case in which a boat accident left two Hungarian students dead.
Paramount Pictures Settles with Injured Transformers Extra for $18.5 Million
An extra who suffered a permanent brain injury on the set of Transformers 3 has reached an $18.5 million settlement with Paramount Pictures.
Gabriela Cedillo, now 26, was a bank teller who was also working as an extra on the movie set in Hammond, Indiana in September of 2010. While filming a background scene, she was in a Toyota Scion that was being pulled by a tow cable; the cable snapped and came crashing through the Scion's windshield, striking Cedillo in the head. The vehicle then hit a median and rolled for about a mile down the road.
Cedillo was airlifted to the hospital where she underwent emergency brain surgery in which about a third of the top portion of the skull was removed and part of the right side of the brain was removed. She is now blind in one eye and suffers from memory problems and seizures. Cedillo requires lifelong care and has accrued more than $800,000 worth of medical bills.
In her lawsuit, which was filed in October of 2010, Cedillo claimed that the steel cable was not properly welded to the bottom of the Scion, inhibiting its ability to go faster than 50 miles per hour. The suit also states that Paramount did not have the proper permits to use explosives the day that the accident occurred, and that the company went back on their agreement to cover the medical costs associated with the accident.
A Cook County Circuit Court approved the terms of the settlement agreement, which includes monthly payments to Cedillo to ensure that she will have adequate care for the rest of her life.
Fatal Duck Boat Accident Results in $17 Million Settlement
Almost two years after a boat accident on the Delaware River left two people dead, a $17 million settlement has been reached with the two companies that operated the boats.
The families of the two Hungarian students that were killed, Szabolcs Prem, 20, and Dora Schwendtner, 16, will split $15 million; the remaining $2 million will be split among 18 of the surviving victims.
In July of 2010, the victims in the wrongful death and injury suits were on an amphibious sightseeing boat, also referred to as a duck boat, just off of the Philadelphia shoreline. As the 33-foot-long duck boat, operated by Ride the Ducks, was anchored in the water in a shipping lane, a 250-foot-long tugboat-guided barge, operated by K-Sea Transportation, slammed into it. The barge went over the duck boat, sinking it and sending all 37 passengers overboard.
In the suit, Schwendtner and Prem's families claimed that both boat companies were negligent, citing unclear safety policies, ineffective training, and inadequate emergency procedures as reasons for the crash. Further, the pilot of the tug was on his cell phone, had an obscured view of the water at the time of the accident, and had turned down the radio prior to the accident; he pleaded guilty to his charges related to the accident and was sentenced to a year in prison for his role.
The settlement was reached a few days after the start of the trial.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 800 bicyclists were killed and 44,000 others injured in accidents during 2006. Bicyclists are subject to the same rules of the road as motorists, but even the most prudent of bicyclists can fall victim to a catastrophic accident. They are especially vulnerable to injury; besides helmets, bicyclists have little to protect them from an impact or crash.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Not all bicycle accidents involve a motor vehicle striking the bike. Although plenty of accidents stem from the actions of a reckless or negligent motorist, hazardous road conditions and defective products can also contribute to or cause serious injury to bicyclists.
Reckless or Negligent Drivers
Motorists are responsible for exercising reasonable caution while operating their vehicles, but when they are intoxicated, inattentive, or irresponsible, they can cause tragic accidents. The majority of bicycle accidents are caused by motorists who fail to:
Stop at a traffic sign or light
Follow the speed limit
Notice a bicyclist when making a left or right hand turn
Check before opening a car door into a bike lane or path of oncoming bicyclist
Even if a bicyclist does not collide with a motor vehicle - but is injured while trying to avoid collision - the bicyclist may have a valid case against the driver of the vehicle, since the driver's negligence or recklessness may have contributed to the bicyclist's injury. A judge or jury could find the driver at fault and deem them responsible for paying damages to the bicyclist.
If a bicyclist's injuries are the result of a defect in the bicycle, such as faulty brakes or pedals, the bicyclist can file a claim against the manufacturer or seller of the bicycle under the doctrine of product liability. When filing a product liability claim, the plaintiff must prove that he or she was using the bicycle in the manner in which it was intended, and show a link between the defect and the injury that it caused.
Hazardous Road Conditions
When bicyclists injure themselves on public property, such as a roadway or sidewalk, because of dangerous hazards or defects in their paths, they may be able to hold the government liable. These accidents can occur on surfaces that are uneven, sandy, or slippery. Injured bicyclists filing claims against the government should consider the statutes of limitations; usually this time limit to file a claim is shorter when a government entity is involved. The statutes of limitations vary by state.
Filing a Bicycle Accident Claim
Sometimes the cause of or contributing factors in a bicycle accident are vague. An experienced bicycle accident attorney is trained to thoroughly investigate the accident. Based on the facts surrounding the accident, the attorney can build a strong case against the person or persons responsible for causing or contributing to the accident. When presented with clear and convincing evidence and a sound argument, a judge or jury could award the injured bicyclist significant financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering resulting from the accident.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney near You
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To recover damages, you'll need aggressive legal representation. LawyerShop's directory can help you find experienced bicycle accident attorneys in your area.
The disproportionate size of large trucks can be extremely hazardous for the occupants of passenger vehicles in the event of an accident. Tractor trailer, big rig, and 18 wheeler accidents present a much greater likelihood of catastrophic injury or wrongful death than accidents involving only passenger vehicles, and the factors leading to an accident involving a large truck are often complex.Semi tractor trailer and other large truck accidents can occur because of overworked, undertrained, exhausted, or negligent drivers; improperly loaded vehicles; mechanical defects; and many other preventable causes.Frequently, more than one of these causes is a factor contributing to the occurrence of an accident, making the accident investigation, reconstruction, and subsequent assignation of responsibility more difficult.
If the negligence of another has caused you or a loved one to be involved in a semi tractor trailer or other truck accident leading to injury or death, the advice of a qualified truck accident lawyer can be of great assistance. It is imperative that you contact an experienced trucking accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure that information that is critical to your claim is not lost, destroyed, or tampered with.
Trucking Accident Causes
Trucking accidents and injuries from such accidents can have several causes, including one or more of the following:
Driver inattention – either on the part of the truck driver or the driver of the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident
Speeding - because large trucks cannot stop as quickly as smaller vehicles, speeding can easily lead to a collision with another vehicle
Following too closely - trucks that follow another vehicle too closely run the risk of a trucking accident
Mechanical difficulties - such as failed brakes, worn tires, seat belt defects, faulty airbags, and lack of crashworthiness
Aggressive driving - on the part of the truck driver or drivers of other vehicles
Inattention to blind spots - drivers of passenger vehicles that do not pay attention to truck driver blind spots run the risk of the truck turning into their vehicles
Trucking Accident Prevention
The majority of trucking accidents can be prevented. A few basic precautions to take in order to help avoid trucking accidents include:
Stay out of truck drivers' blind spots
Leave sufficient space between trucks and vehicles in front of or following the truck
Stay alert while driving by getting adequate rest and avoiding use of alcohol and drugs
Avoid use of cell phones while driving
Avoid eating while driving
Contact a Qualified Trucking Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a trucking accident, you may want to contact a trucking accident attorney for more information. Locate an experienced trucking accident lawyer near you who will be able to answer any questions you have about what you should do in the aftermath of an accident involving a large truck.
As the number of motor vehicles on America's roadways increases, a certain number of accidents will inevitably occur; accordingly, involvement in a crash is largely considered part of the normal and expected use of a vehicle, rather than an extraordinary event. Because of this, most states require vehicles to meet certain crashworthiness standards.
The term crashworthiness refers to a vehicle's ability to protect its passengers in the event of a collision; each vehicle is manufactured with certain crashworthiness features designed to help minimize the effects of vehicular accidents on the people within, even during an accident involving a large truck. When these safety features do not function properly or a vehicle is not up to crashworthiness standards, a wrongful death or traumatic injury can result from a trucking accident that otherwise might have been far less damaging.
Several types of tests are performed to assess a vehicle's crashworthiness. These tests typically involve placing crash test dummies in a vehicle and replicating representative crash situations to evaluate the vehicle's ability to protect passengers from damage. Crashworthiness tests frequently performed include:
Frontal impact crashworthiness test: this test involves driving a vehicle into a solid wall or stationary vehicle to evaluate the effects of a head-on collision.
Offset crashworthiness test: this test is similar to frontal impact crashworthiness tests; however, the area of impact is offset so that only a portion of the front of the car impacts another vehicle.
Side impact crashworthiness test: this test evaluates the ability of a vehicle to protect passengers from side impact collisions, such as often occur at intersections.
Rollover crashworthiness test: this test measures a vehicle’s ability to support itself and protect passengers when turned upside-down or on its side, and is frequently performed on sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
Defective Crashworthiness Features
Vehicles manufactured for sale in the United States are required to have a number of standard crashworthiness features to protect passengers' safety. However, these safety features can be vulnerable to manufacturing and design defects which reduce crashworthiness. Among the automotive defects which may be found to be detrimental to a vehicle's crashworthiness are the following:
Insufficiently supported roof
Improperly placed or poorly welded fuel tanks
Ripped or otherwise damaged seatbelts
Malfunctioning seatbelt latches or retractors
Seat backs that crumple upon impact
Doors that spring open upon impact
Find a Trucking Accident Attorney in Your Area
If you suspect that you or someone you love may have been injured due to a vehicle's inadequate crashworthiness, contact an experienced lawyer near you. A skilled trucking accident attorney can help evaluate whether the vehicle in question was properly manufactured and tested for crashworthiness.
The capsizing of the Costa Concordia off of the Italian coast has raised questions about the safety and legal protection of passengers that are involved in cruise ship accidents.
The Costa Concordia crashed after the captain of the ship made the unauthorized and unapproved decision to move the ship off course. The ship slammed into a reef and became grounded on Friday night, just three hours into the cruise.
Passengers report mass chaos after the ship crashed and began to list to one side. Muster drills had not yet been held and many passengers have stated that officers were not available to guide them through the evacuation process.
The majority of the ship's 4,200 passengers and crew survived. However, 11 bodies have been found and 24 people are still missing.
The captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, has been charged with manslaughter, causing an accident, and abandoning ship.
Compensation for Victims of Serious Injury or Death
Cruise ship accident survivors and the families of victims often want to file a lawsuit against the cruise line company to obtain damages for the loss of luggage, medical bills, travel expenses, funeral costs, and mental trauma. However, maritime law limits cruise company's liability in the event of an accident.
According to the Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, an international maritime law that applies to cruise ships calling on non-U.S. ports, cruise line liability for injuries and deaths is limited to 46,666 Special Drawing Rights per passenger. Special Drawing Rights are an international currency that has a current worth of about $71,000.
Further, because the Costa Cruises line is based in Rome, survivors and victims' families would have to file their lawsuit in Genoa, Italy, and hire an Italian attorney to handle the litigation.
If a ship that is the size of the Costa Concordia had been embarking out of a U.S. port, the cruise line would be liable for $50 million in compensation under a U.S. maritime law that was written in the 1920s. This amount would be split among the injured parties.
Compensation for Survivors
Some legal experts estimate that Miami-based Carnival Corp., which owns Costa Cruises, will only have to offer surviving passengers $500 in compensation for lost luggage, in addition to a refund of the cost of the cruise.
Italian consumer rights association Codacons is seeking a higher amount for passengers, and announced that dozens of Costa Concordia survivors have joined a class action suit against the cruise line.
"Over 70 passengers who were on board the ship have joined the class action initiated by our association," Codacons head, Carlo Rienzi, said. "Our objective is to get each passenger at least €10,000 [$12,773] compensation for material damage and also for ... the fear suffered, the holidays ruined, and the serious risks endured."
If you have been involved in a cruise ship accident, speak to an experienced maritime lawyer for a case evaluation. An attorney can determine if you have a viable case and are entitled to damages.
There have been a number of well-known wrongful death settlements and verdicts that have been covered by major media outlets. Read about the O.J. Simpson, Nancy Grace, and Ford Pinto wrongful death cases.
Through the years, a handful of wrongful death cases have captured the public’s interest and garnered front-page newspaper coverage while sparking endless debate about the details and merits of each case. Some involved celebrities, some involved defective products that affected many Americans. Below are some of the most famous, or infamous, wrongful death cases ever heard in the United States courts.
OJ Simpson Civil Trial
Without a doubt, the most notorious figure to ever be held financially liable for the deaths of other people is O.J. Simpson, the former football great, actor and sports broadcaster who in 1995 was acquitted on criminal charges stemming from the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and an acquaintance, Ronald Goldman, in a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles.
After he was found not guilty by jurors in his closely watched and televised criminal trial, which ranks as the longest criminal case in United States history, Simpson was sued in civil court by the Brown and Goldman families for the wrongful death of their loved ones. In 1997, the families were awarded $33.5 million in compensatory damages, an award that Simpson successfully challenged in court. To date, the families report they have received little or no funds from Simpson in payment of the wrongful death judgment.
Guest of CNN Talk Show Host Nancy Grace Kills Self
In September 2006, CNN talk show host Nancy Grace was sued for wrongful death by relatives of a 21-year-old Florida mother who committed suicide days after being confronted on-air by Grace about the whereabouts of the woman’s missing two-year-old son. The mother, Melinda Ducket, was not formally named a suspect in her son’s disappearance, but Grace, a former prosecutor, angrily grilled the mother about what Ducket knew about the boy’s whereabouts. Ducket’s family alleged that Grace intentionally inflicted emotional distress on their loved one by angrily insinuating that she had killed her son, driving the mother to take her own life just hours before her pre-taped appearance on Grace’s talk show was to be aired. In 2010, the case was settled for $200,000.
Killer of Comedian-Actor Sues Anti-Depressant Maker
In 1998, “Saturday Night Live” actor and comedian Phil Hartman was shot to death by his wife, Brynn, who then turned the gun on herself, taking her own life. While the killing shocked television and movie audiences who loved the comedic actor’s impersonations and quirky roles, the crime also surprised members of Brynn Hartman’s family. Her brother sued Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the anti-depressant Zoloft, which Brynn was taking for panic attacks, alleging the popular drug drove her to insanity that caused her to shoot her husband and herself. Pfizer agreed to settle the family’s suit for an undisclosed amount.
Ford Motors Sued Over 1970s Pinto Explosions
Ford Motor Company faced wrongful death lawsuits stemming from a series of vehicle explosions that affected its popular Pinto sedans in the 1970s. The Pinto was designed with a rear-facing gasoline tank that could be ruptured in even minor rear-end collisions. Ford’s unsafe design was held liable for the wrongful deaths of motorists and the car-maker eventually recalled the Pinto. In one lawsuit in which a woman was killed and a 13-year-old boy was severely burned, Ford was liable for $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have suffered the death of a loved one as the result of the negligent or unlawful actions of another party, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of companionship and other damages. Contact an experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive wrongful death attorney today.
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