On December 1, 2016, a Ford F-150 truck driven by Dennis Mockenhaupt plowed through the entrance area of a Wal-Mart in Pella, Iowa at 48 miles per hour. The entrance to the store spanned about 25 feet and was surrounded by a set of five decorative bollards set eight to 10 feet in front of it. The bollards were made of an inner bollard about six inches in diameter, encased in a very thin steel wall, and filled with concrete covered with decorative cast iron. Mockenhaupt alleges that, at the time of the accident, he had lost consciousness because he was choking on coffee.

Although Mockenhaupt hit one of these bollards, it shattered instantly upon impact, allowing his truck to careen through the entrance of the store.

The accident claimed three lives–Lindsey Rietveld (whose family are the plaintiffs in the instant case), employee Carrie Zugg, and shopper Robert DeJong. When the truck crashed through the entrance, it hit Rietveld and Zugg first, then struck DeJong. Rietveld was thrown about 15 feet into the store when she was struck by the truck, where she became pinned between the truck and a large freezer. According to her family’s lawsuit, Rietveld’s official cause of death was “multiple blunt force injuries, that included multiple hemorrhages of the head and neck, fractured pelvis, ribs, T2 vertebrae, both legs, and lacerations to her liver, lungs, and aorta.”

Once the weather warms up, many Georgians are eager to get out on the lake. After all, what could be more fun than a day of boating, swimming, and sunbathing? However, boating accidents can and do happen, and their consequences can be severe. For example, an Atlanta man was recently charged with first degree homicide by vessel, serious injury by vessel, and boating under the influence after a deadly boating accident on Lake Blue Ridge. The accident occurred when two victims were being pulled in a tube behind the boat when the tube struck the shoreline. Although not every boating accident will carry criminal liability, boat operators can be held liable for injuries to their passengers and others through personal injury suits.

Liability for Boating Accidents

Liability for most boating accidents is very similar to liability for car accidents on land, and is often based in negligence. To win a personal injury suit for a boating injury based on negligence, the plaintiff must show that the boat operator failed to operate the boat as a reasonably prudent boat operator would have operated it and that this failure caused an injury to the plaintiff. This can include any conduct that falls below the standard of care that a reasonable boat operator would exercise–such as taking the boat out when weather conditions are not optimal, turning the boat the wrong way into a wake and causing it to capsize, going too fast to avoid hitting another vessel, or failing to provide adequate safety equipment. Boat operators can also be held civilly liable for personal injuries arising out of criminal conduct, such as boating under the influence.

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.

Airline employees are trained professionals whose job is to ensure that passengers are safely transported from point A to point B. Since flying is widely known as the safest way to travel, most of the time these journeys go off without a hitch, but, unfortunately, injuries do happen. Injuries sustained by airline passengers have received quite a bit of pubic attention over the past few weeks, leaving many to wonder–what can you do if you are injured by an airline employee or another passenger

Below, we’ll take a look at how airlines can be held liable for injuries to their passengers

Airlines are Common Carriers

Less than a decade ago, if you told someone to jump into a stranger’s car and let them drive you to their destination instead of hailing a taxi, they would have looked at you like you were crazy. Today, with the rise of ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, this idea is not so outlandish. App-based ride sharing programs have revolutionized the way we get around, making easy, affordable transportation a simple click away. However, one of the biggest challenges to the implementation of this new scheme is concerns about their safety. After all, it’s not always the best idea to trust just any driver with your life. To assuage fears that riders will be horribly injured in accidents and left to the mercy of their driver’s personal insurance policy (if they have one at all), ride sharing companies and the insurance companies who cover them have set up a new type of insurance program to handle these situations.

Ride Sharing Insurance Requirements

Uber splits all journeys into three phases, outlined below

Methadone and other Opioids

Methadone is an opioid medication that is commonly prescribed to heroin users to reduce withdrawal symptoms while they are detoxing from the drug. It can be very beneficial to those who are trying to fight addiction because it acts as a pain reliever but it does not cause the “high” that is associated with the user’s drug addiction. However, methadone is still an opioid and its use can cause overdose or death. Additionally, methadone is highly addictive, and patients who kick the heroin habit by taking it often merely replace one addiction with another.

Ambien

A jury in St. Louis, Missouri recently awarded a Virginia woman $110.5 million in damages after she alleged that their talcum powder products caused her ovarian cancer. Lois Slemp, a Virginia resident, claimed to have used Johnson & Johnson’s Shower-to-Shower and Baby Powder products over a period of four decades. The damages included $5.4 million in actual damages and $105 million in punitive damages. This follows jury verdicts of $72 million, $55 million, and $70 million  against Johnson & Johnson in 2016.

Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

There is debate in the medical industry as to whether here is a link between talc, the main ingredient in talcum powder, and various forms of cancer. Talc is a mineral that is mined from deposits around the world, which is then crushed into a white powder for use in cosmetics and other personal care products to absorb moisture. It is also used in a variety of other products, including paint and plastics. In its natural form, talc contains asbestos, a substance that is known to cause cancer in and around the lungs when inhaled. However, all talcum products sold for home use in the United States have been asbestos-free since the 1970s. Most of the concerns about a link between talcum powder and cancer have been focused in two areas:

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

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.

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