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Many A man with a suit hold a piece of paper that says "lawsuit"people think of personal injury attorneys purely in terms of car accident cases. The truth is that a personal injury attorney can help you in any situation where you have been injured through someone else’s fault. Serious injuries can have life-altering consequences. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you protect your future by seeking fair compensation for your injuries and other losses.

Unintentional Torts: Cases Involving Negligence

Personal injury attorneys handle tort cases – cases that involve an action or failure to act that resulted in harm to another person. Tort cases are civil cases, which means that the plaintiff is seeking a money judgment in order to receive compensation for their losses and injuries.

A judge's gavelIf you get injured in an accident, there are multiple issues to consider. First, you need to figure out who is at fault.  Then you need to determine how much compensation you are entitled to receive. Finally, you need to navigate the process for actually getting your claim paid. In most accident cases, someone’s insurance company pays the claim – the at-fault person doesn’t often pay for your injuries out of his or her pocket.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the claims process can get pretty complicated once insurance companies get involved. Even if liability or the value of your claim is not in dispute, the insurance company may delay or even refuse to pay the claim. This can create tremendous hardship for the victim. You should be focused on putting your life back together rather than worrying about whether you can pay your bills.  

Bad Faith Defined

Gavel, law book, and paper with the text "personal injury"One of the things we try to do here at Slappey & Sadd is remember what it’s like to be in the client’s shoes. It’s a good way to remember that things that may seem routine or unremarkable are actually unknown territory and fairly intimidating for the people we represent. As a result, we thought we’d use today’s post to walk you through the process in the event that you’ve been seriously injured.  

Seek Medical Treatment

If you’ve been injured, the first and most important step is to seek medical treatment. In some cases, you have no choice – you need to go to the emergency room. In other cases, you felt fine right after the accident, but two days later you were in a considerable amount of pain. Or maybe you did receive immediate medical attention, but now you’re presenting with different symptoms.  Whatever the case, you should listen to your body – if something isn’t right, go get checked out as soon as possible.

When you mention injuries in the workplace, people often think of factories or other jobs that involve heavy manual labor. Unfortunately, workplace injuries can and do happen in almost any line of work – from a slip and fall in the office break room to long-term illness resulting from an environmental hazard such as toxic mold. Perhaps somewhat ironically, employees in the healthcare industry face a surprising amount of risk and potential injuries, and in some ways that you might not expect.  

Lifting and Moving Patients  

A surprising number of injuries originate from lifting and moving patients. Even with proper training, lifting a patient presents the substantial risk of injury to the back, knees, and shoulders. In addition, helping lift or move a patient can lead to a fall and subsequent injury. Injuries sustained from lifting can be very serious, especially if there is an injury to your back. These injuries can not only severely limit your ability to work but also limit your day-to-day living.  

Shoddy construction is being blamed for several injuries sustained when a wooden dome used as a climbing obstacle in a race collapsed last fall in St. Francisville, Louisiana in October of 2016. Witnesses mentioned that there were between 20 and 30 people on the dome. The dome was the third of 12 obstacles of the Warrior Dash obstacle race. At one point, it started to sway to the side, and then slowly crashed to the ground. The Warrior Dash races are held in cities around the country. They feature several obstacles, which often will include ponds, mud, and large objects that participants must climb and crawl over. The races are organized by Red Frog Events.

The obstacle in question is called the Diesel Dome, which is promoted on Red Frog’s website as a 30-by-50 foot wooden dome “with views of the ground that will ignite your vertigo.” Participants in the race had noticed that the structure appeared to be structurally unsound several hours before it collapsed. One participant said that the structure started to lean, then it slowly collapsed by falling to the left. Those that were injured didn’t get treatment for 10 to 15 minutes, the participant said, “because nobody from the event staff knew anything was wrong. The operations manager for Acadian Ambulance, Justin Cox, said that three of the patients were airlifted and seven more were taken to the hospital in ambulances from the event site at the West Feliciana Sports Park.

In August of this year, nearly a year after the accident, authorities filed five arrest warrants against Red Frog, accusing the company of shoddy construction and failing to follow safety procedures, including checking on construction, monitoring each obstacle during the race, and having a staffer at each obstacle to monitor safety. “It truly is a thousand wonders that other structures did not fail,” said Brant Thompson, Louisiana’s deputy state fire marshal. He said that there were young children stationed near the obstacles. They were given radios and told to keep an eye on safety, but they were never given instructions regarding how many people should be allowed on each obstacle at a time. Asked for clarification, he said many safety monitors were about 13 or 14 years old. Thomson also stated that the obstacle included construction defects, such as using smaller boards than were specified in the original plans and nails that were inadequate for the type of lumber that was being used. When boards became detached from the mainframe, they simply patched them up but did nothing that would hold the load of the participants on the platform. In total, five Red Frog employees have been charged with 13 misdemeanor counts of negligent injury, while two employees—contractors Marcus M. Edwards and Daniel L. Lauren—also face one felony charge each of “engaging in contracting without authority.”

A Michigan woman who slipped and fell at a friend’s holiday party is taking her case to the state Supreme Court to clarify the responsibilities of property owners when they welcome guests into their home. Susan Blackwell, the plaintiff in the case, missed an 8-inch step when she stepped into an unlit room at a coworker’s home on December 14, 2013. She arrived at the home of Dean and Debra Franchi for a dinner party they were hosting. When she entered the home and proceeded to the mudroom to hang up her purse. An approximately 8-inch drop-off exists between the hallway and the mudroom. Unaware of the step, Blackwell fell, which resulted in injuries.

A Pending Decision Regarding Liability

The justices of the Michigan Supreme Court are deciding whether the homeowners should have informed Blackwell about any risks when she arrived at the party. Her original lawsuit was dismissed by an Oakland County judge, but the state appeals court reversed the decision, stating that a jury should determine whether the danger at the home was “open and obvious.” The “open and obvious” doctrine holds that if a dangerous condition is open and obvious to a reasonable person when the plaintiff was injured, then the defendant is not liable warning the plaintiff because the plaintiff could have discovered the condition and avoided it. The defendants’ attorney argues that Blackwell should have presumed danger when she saw an unlit room. The plaintiff’s attorney said it was the step that was dangerous, not the darkness, claiming that the plaintiff would not have been able to see the step even with the light on.

Millions of people frequent amusement parks every year to enjoy a fun day with family or friends. Unfortunately, once in awhile, a day at the theme park can lead to a serious injury. A Pennsylvania man has sued a theme park for negligence after he claims that he contracted an eye-eating parasite on one of its water rides. Robert Trostle claims that he contracted the parasite microsporidia in his left eye from being splashed on the “Raging Rapids” ride at Pittsburgh’s Kennywood amusement park this summer.

Stating a Case for an Amusement Park Injury

In his complaint, Mr. Trostle said that his eye became itchy, red, painful, and sensitive to light in the days following his ride on the Raging Rapids, which simulates white-water rafting. He was given antibiotics after being diagnosed with acute conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye), but his symptoms continued to get worse, his lawsuit claims. He underwent “an extremely painful surgery where the parasite was scraped out of the eye with a surgical scalpel,” after being diagnosed with microsporidia keratitis, according to the complaint.The lawsuit also claims that the Raging Rapids ride’s water was “dirty, stagnant, and sludge-like,” and said that the park failed to adequately regulate, inspect, and filter the water.

In November, a Pennsylvania jury awarded a victim over one million dollars for injuries suffered after he was sideswiped by an energy exploration water truck. The case is a reminder that accident victims do not have to suffer in silence but should pursue monetary compensation for their physical and mental anguish.

Hit and Run

The victim, Rocco Mazzei, had been driving on U.S. 50 near the Harrison and Doddridge line when he pulled five feet off the highway to talk on his cell phone. At that point, he was sideswiped by the energy exploration water truck whose driver did not stop.

Over the past month, the topic of sexual assault has received heavy media attention after it was revealed that a major Hollywood producer had allegedly been sexually assaulting actresses for many years. After this initial revelation, the floodgates of sexual assault allegations seemed to have been opened, with accusations being leveled against other Hollywood celebrities, business executives, and even a former president. These types of incidents are normally handled through the criminal law system, but there are several avenues in which the victims of sexual assault can also recover through civil actions.

Below, we’ll take a look at the differences between criminal and civil actions for sexual assault and then examine a few types of civil actions that are available to victims.

Difference Between Criminal and Civil Actions for Sexual Assault

Paige Gasper, a 21-year-old student at Sonoma State University in California, has filed the first of what is likely to be many lawsuits relating to the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1. The shooting, carried out by Stephen Paddock, left 58 people dead and 500 more wounded in the worst mass shooting event in United States History. The lawsuit, which was filed in the Clark County District Court, named several defendants, including Mandalay Bay and its owner, MGM Resorts; Live Nation, the concert promoter; and the maker of “bump stocks,” the device Paddock used to make his guns mimic automatic weapons. Since Gasper’s lawsuit, there have been at least two more filings in the same court over the shooting: a class-action claim by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence against the manufacturer and sellers of bump stocks in Nevada, and a petition asking the court to take control of Paddock’s estate.

Gasper was with a group of friends the night of the shooting when she was shot in her right underarm. After she was trampled by others trying to escape, another concert attendee took her to a truck that raced her and a group of other people who had been shot to a hospital. She was the only passenger who survived. After being treated for fractured ribs and a lacerated liver in an intensive care unit, Gasper returned to her family in California, where she is still recovering. Her lawsuit claims that MGM Resorts “breached their duty of reasonable care” and failed to keep the hotel “in a reasonably safe condition” because it did not monitor people coming into the hotel and did not respond quickly enough to Jesus Campos, a security officer whom Paddock shot and wounded about six minutes before he began firing on the concert crowd. It also claims that MGM, which also owns the concert venue, and Live Nation did not design, build, or mark adequate emergency exits and failed to “properly train and supervise employees in an appropriate plan of action in case of an emergency.”

Although the victims’ need and the public’s demand for justice, in this case, are high, the plaintiffs in these types of cases face an unfortunately high bar to recovery. Lawsuits after mass shootings have largely struggled, due to a federal law that shields gun manufacturers and sellers from civil claims brought by victims of gun violence. Congress passed the law, known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, after significant lobbying from the National Rifle Association in 2005. While liability against MGM and Live Nation will be fairly easy to establish, a decision placing liability on gun manufacturers would be “unprecedented,” according to Timothy D. Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State University. “No plaintiff has ever obtained an unreversed jury verdict in a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer for an injury arising out of the criminal use of a weapon,” Lytton said. “The argument,” he added, referring to the justification of the 2005 law, “is that the industry’s not responsible for gun violence — criminals are responsible.”

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