Articles Posted in Liability

Auto insurance protects you, your passengers, your vehicle, and other drivers and their vehicles when you are involved in an accident. After all, that is why we pay for auto insurance–to help us out in the event of an auto accident. But about injuries that are not sustained while you are actually driving, but you are still using the car in some way? For example, could you file a claim against your insurance company if you were burned by your car’s radiator when adding coolant? What about if you slip and fall when you have just parked and are exciting the vehicle? These incidents are auto insurance “edge cases” and auto insurance generally manage to avoid paying these types of claims.

But all of that might be about to change after a recent ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court.

What is “Transportational Use”?

In March of this year, a 59 year-old woman, a woman in her 40s, and a 7 year-old boy fell about 12 to 15 feet out of a Ferris wheel in Washington State when the gondola they were in tipped over. The 59 year-old was hospitalized with serious injuries, while the others were treated and released. The company that owns the Ferris wheel claims that riders who fell out had been asked to remain seated during the ride’s rotation. However, a witness at the scene claims that it didn’t appear that the riders were moving around when their gondola tipped over, and a broken part was found on the deck of the ride shortly after the accident. The witness further claims that the riders did not start moving back and forth in the gondola until the car itself started coming apart and they were trying to hold on, and that she heard a grinding sound right before the accident.

This incident raises the question of theme park and festival safety, and what riders can do if they are injured on a ride. Below, we’ll examine some of the most common theories of liability for theme park accidents.

Negligence

Over the past decade, the rise of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and a multitude of others have transformed the way we communicate with each other and, by extension, the way we live. Social media allows us to let others know what we’re up to and also gives us a chance to stay connected with friends and family we might not see as often as we would like. Social media has has managed to seep into almost every aspect of our culture, and the law has not been immune from its effects. When you are the plaintiff in a personal injury case, every move you make on social media can affect your claim. Below, we’ll examine a few ways that social media usage can harm your personal injury claim.

It Could Create Inconsistencies

Whenever you suffer an injury, especially a severe injury, you will get involved with a wide range of professionals, including doctors, medical personnel, insurance adjusters, attorneys, members of law enforcement, and more. The reason why all of these professionals are involved is because they are trying to help you document what happened so that you can present a clear picture to the judge or jury about exactly what happened to you. If you post about your injuries on social media and your description of them does not align exactly with the officially documented version of events, a defense attorney could seize upon these inconsistencies to diminish your case.

What happens when you are injured by using a product that you purchased?

As long as the injury wasn’t your fault–for example, you were using it incorrectly or using it for a purpose it was not intended for–you may be able to bring a products liability action against any party in the product’s chain of distribution. This includes the manufacturer, the manufacturer of a component part of the product, the party that assembled the product, and even the store where you bought the products. When you bring a products liability action, however, you must show that the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous.

How do you do that? The law recognizes several ways.

If you are injured in an accident and prevail in a personal injury suit, you will be compensated in the form of monetary damages.The purpose of damages in a personal injury case is to compensate the victim so that they are in the same position they would be in had the accident never occurred. Thus, damage awards are compensatory—the plaintiff receives one the amount that will make him or her whole again.Because compensatory damages are awarded on a sliding scale relative to the plaintiff’s needs, damage awards can reach into the millions of dollars. In order to cut down on damage awards that many view as excessive, many state legislatures have enacted caps on the amount of damages that juries are able to award.

How Damages Caps Work

The main argument behind damage caps is that the United States is an excessively litigious society and that too many view personal injury lawsuits as a get-rich-quick scheme. Damage caps are thus designed to discourage lawsuit-happy litigants from filing frivolous lawsuits and clogging up the court system. The main argument against damage caps is that they unfairly limit the recourse available to injured parties and that judges already have the power to either decrease or increase unreasonable damages awards. The way damages caps work is fairly simple—they are a creature of state statute, wherein the state legislature places what they consider to be a reasonable limit on the amount of money a jury can award. Some states limit damages based on the type of action that is brought in the court—for example, the damages cap may only apply to medical malpractice or wrongful death. Other times they apply to certain categories of damages, most commonly to noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, and punitive damages.

If you’ve ever applied for a new auto insurance policy, you’ve probably been given the option to install a device in your car that tracks your driving habits. These devices are known as “telematics” and almost all major insurance companies now offer them to their customers in exchange for potentially reduced premium rates. The devices attach to the vehicle’s OBD-II port and collect data from your car’s computer. Insurance companies can program them to monitor different metrics, but some of the most common are:

  • Time the car was used
  • Distance driven

Usually, but not always.

Rear-end crashes are the most common type of vehicle accident in the United States, accounting for about 1.7 million crashes each year. Of those crashes, about 1,700 are killed and an additional 500,000 are injured. If you have been driving for any length of time, you are probably under the impression that the driver of the following vehicle (the one that crashes into the back of the lead vehicle) is always at fault for rear-end accidents. While it is true that the drivers of rear vehicles in rear-end crashes are usually mostly at fault, there are several situations that can reduce or entirely eliminate the rear driver’s liability.

Why Following Drivers are Almost Always at Fault

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