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Top 5 Travel Injury Legal Issues

It’s almost summertime, so time to hit the road, see the sights, and travel the high seas. But with travels come trouble sometimes, accidents and injuries, which could be costly. Here is some advice for travelers, whatever your mode of transport, be it trains, planes, automobiles, boats, or a combo. Find out how to handle travel accident recovery. Travel Accident Recovery 1. Injured on an Airplane: How Can You Recover? You probably don’t realize just how treacherous being on a plane is, and that is apart from the hazard of hurtling through the skies. Injuries on airplanes can happen due to fallen luggage from overhead compartments, turbulence, airline employee error and more. Airlines owe passengers a high duty of care and passengers do recover when they are proven negligent. 2. Injured in a Bus Crash: How Much Is My Case Worth? It is never a good idea to guess at what a case is worth without knowing all the details, and even then it’s probably best not to assume. But bus crash injuries can be severe and you can certainly sue if you are hurt while traveling on this type of common carrier. 3. Can I Sue for a Railroad Crossing Accident? If you’re on a train that crashes or are injured in some way while traveling Orient Express style, you can certainly sue to recover for your expenses and pain and suffering. As for drivers injured in a railroad crossing accident, that too is an unfortunately common occurrence and a basis for recovery. 4. Cruise Ship Injury: Can I Sue? Traveling on a cruise ship combines the fun of staying at a hotel with the thrill of being on the high seas and a dash of the old-fashioned. But cruise ships are also a prime place to get injured — not only are there activities of all kinds but there’s the risk of accidents in restaurants, on decks, and with the movement of the ship itself. If your vacation ends in a sea of sorrows due to the negligence of the cruise ship company, you can sue. 5. Road Trip Safety Tips: How to Not Get Injured The most American vacation of them all is the road trip, a journey great artists have paid tribute to in books, film, music, and more. But before you hit the road, know the score on staying safe. Traveling in a car for long hours can be dangerous. Talk to a Lawyer If you are injured during your travels or at any other time and you believe it is due to the negligence of another, speak to a lawyer. Tell your story. Many attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case. Related Resources: Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) Cruise Ship Sickness: Can Passengers Sue? (FindLaw’s Injured) Cruise Ship Injuries: What Are Your Rights? (FindLaw’s Injured) Top Ten Road Trip Legal Tips (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life)
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Okla. Woman Sues, Alleging Fracking-Related Earthquake Injury

An Oklahoma woman who claims that nearby fracking operations caused an earthquake in which she was injured has filed a lawsuit against two energy companies. Sandra Ladra was watching a college football game at home in 2011 when a magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck, reports Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV. The earthquake dislodged rocks from Ladra's chimney which she claims struck her in the legs, causing injuries to both her legs and knees which her lawyer says will require surgery. How does Ladra plan on pinning responsibility for her injuries on the defendants, New Dominion LLC and Spess Oil Company? Earthquakes Reportedly Caused by Wastewater Injection Ladra is claiming that the earthquake that caused her injury was itself caused by the injection of wastewater created during the fracking process. Her lawsuit claims this wastewater injection shifted faults lines causing earthquakes like the one that struck her home. Fracking refers to the process of extracting oil and natural gas from the ground by using hydraulic fracturing. The process generates wastewater, which is typically disposed of in deep underground wells. This is not the first lawsuit claiming that underground wastewater injection has caused earthquakes. In 2013, more than a dozen Arkansas landowners brought a lawsuit against the owners of fracking wells, claiming that earthquakes caused by the wastewater injection had damages their homes, reports Reuters. Proving Negligence To hold the energy company liable for her injuries, Ladra will likely have to show that they acted negligently in disposing of the wastewater. Proving negligence typically requires not just prove that a person or in this case a corporation's actions caused an injury, but also that the person acted unreasonably under the circumstances. As injecting wastewater into underground wells appears to be the standard practice of the fracking industry, it may be difficult for Ladra to show that doing so was a breach of the energy companies' duty to operate safely. Related Resources: Vermont Bans Fracking, Citing Injury Concerns (FindLaw's Injured) Texas Family Wins $3M Fracking-Pollution Lawsuit (FindLaw's Injured) Does Fracking Settlement's Gag Order Apply to Kids? (FindLaw's Legally Weird) Ill. Benzene Lawsuit Targets Shell Oil Spill (FindLaw's Injured)
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O’Hare Shuttle Bus Crash Injures 14; 1st Lawsuit Filed

One of the 14 people injured in a shuttle bus crash at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has filed a lawsuit against the bus driver and the company that owns the bus. Talipha Charles suffered broken bones, contusions, and other injuries in the crash, the Daily Herald reports. According to Charles' lawyer, the bus driver was speeding at the time of the collision and failed to stay in the proper lane, causing the bus to crash into a concrete median. How will these allegations affect both the driver's and the bus company's potential liability for the crash? Bus Accident Lawsuits Lawsuits arising from bus accidents may be somewhat different than lawsuits involving ordinary automobile accidents. That's because buses are typically considered common carriers under both federal and state law, meaning that they are held to a higher standard of safe operation than other vehicles on the road. Generally, common carriers must use the utmost care in transporting their passengers. In addition to proving that the carrier breached its duty to keep passengers safe, a plaintiff in a bus accident case must also generally prove that the carrier's breach was the cause of her injuries. Negligence Per Se If Charles can prove that the driver of the bus was violating traffic laws at the time of the accident, then she may be able to hold the driver and the bus company liable for her injuries under the legal theory of negligence per se. If a plaintiff alleging negligence can show that the defendant violated a statute that involves safety, and that statute was meant to protect those in the plaintiff's position against the type of harm suffered by the plaintiff in the accident, then the defendant can be found liable for the plaintiff's injuries by negligence per se. In this case, the traffic laws allegedly violated by the bus driver were meant to protect others on the road, such as passengers, from being injured in auto accidents, so negligence per se may apply. Whenever an employee of a business is found negligent while performing a job related duty, the employer may also be vicariously liable for their employee's negligence through the doctrine of respondeat superior. In addition, the bus company may be found liable through negligence of their own, such as negligent training or negligent supervision of the driver.As for the defendants, local news sources have been unable to reach them for comment. Related Resources: Passenger Files Lawsuit Following O'Hare Shuttle Bus Crash (Chicago's WBBM Newsradio) Greyhound Bus Crash in Ohio Injures 34 (FindLaw's Injured) FedEx, Bus Company Sued Over Crash That Killed 10 (FindLaw's Injured) Missouri School Bus Crash Kills 2, Injures More (FindLaw's Injured)
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Injured at Work? 3 Potential Options for Recovery

Getting injured at work is a pretty common occurrence, but what are your legal options if you get hurt? According to a FindLaw.com survey, more than one in five Americans said they've been injured on the job. Workplace injuries not only impact you physically, but it can affect you financially as well. Here are three potential legal options to seek out if you're injured at work: 1. Worker's Compensation In most states, worker's compensation ("worker's comp") covers employees who get injured on the job. The purpose of worker's comp is to provide employees who are injured on the job a way to receive fixed amounts of compensation without having to sue their employers. While it's often available, it's important to check to see if your state's laws, occupation, and employer align to provide you worker's comp. If you do receive worker's compensation, it's unlikely that you'll be able to sue your employer in a separate civil lawsuit. However, even if you file for a worker's compensation claim, you may still bring a lawsuit against a third-party if that individual was responsible for the workplace accident. 2. Disability Workplace disability insurance is another potential option for getting compensation for your workplace injury. Employees who've purchased private disability insurance plans may have their injuries covered even if their employers don't provide coverage. The duration for which employees may be compensated under disability insurance depends on whether the plan is a short term or long term plan. On the other hand, your employer may offer a disability insurance plan. Many of these benefits are regulated by the federal government and come with complex regulations that dictate exactly how claims should be filed and received. Errors in filing could lead to a denial of your claim, but you have the option to appeal the denial. While it's not necessary, you might want to have an ERISA lawyer help you file your claim to avoid missing any steps. 3. Sue the Employer If your job isn't covered by worker's compensation or other restrictions, you may sue your employer for your workplace injuries. Depending on the nature of your injury and how it occurred, there are several possible legal avenues for recovery. For example, if you slip and fall at work because your employer failed to clean up a spill or put up a warning sign, you may be able to sue them under premises liability law. Workplace injuries can be painful and keep you out of the office for a period of time. So if you're unsure how to recover damages for your injury, talk to a personal injury attorney in your area to get started. Related Resources: What Are the 7 Most Common Workplace Injuries? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal How-To: Filing a Workers' Comp Claim (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Do You Need a Lawyer for a Workers' Comp Case? (FindLaw's Injured) 4 Potential Ways to Prove Employer Negligence (FindLaw's Injured)
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Top 10 States for Fatal Truck Crashes

The latest NHTSA report on truck accidents reveals the Top 10 states where large trucks were involved in fatal crashes. The data also shows that in some states, large trucks made up a significantly higher proportion of vehicles involved in fatal crashes than the national average. Of the 45,637 vehicles involved in fatal crashes on U.S. roadways in 2012 (the latest year for which statistics are available), 3,802 -- or 8.3 percent -- were large trucks, according to NHTSA. So where did most of the fatal crashes involving trucks take place? Top 10 States by Number of Trucks Involved in Fatal Crashes Looking at NHTSA's raw numbers, the Top 10 states where large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2012 were: Texas, where 543 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes (that's 14.3 percent of the nationwide total); California, where 244 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes (6.4 percent of the nationwide total); Florida, where 194 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes (5.1 percent of the nationwide total); Pennsylvania, 175 (4.6 percent); Georgia, 149 (3.9 percent); Ohio, 146 (3.8 percent); North Carolina, 132 (3.5 percent); Oklahoma, 124 (3.3 percent); and Illinois and Indiana, both of which saw 115 large trucks involved in fatal crashes (3.0 percent of the nationwide total). Top 10 States by Percentage of Trucks Involved in Fatal Crashes Along with showing where the most truck accidents occurred, NHTSA's report also revealed what percentage of vehicles involved in fatal crashes in each state were large trucks. The Top 10 states where trucks comprised the largest proportion of vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2012 were: North Dakota, where 20.2 percent of vehicles involved in fatal crashes were large trucks; Wyoming, 16.8 percent; Nebraska, 14.7 percent; Iowa, 13.2 percent; Oklahoma, 13.1 percent; Texas, 11.8 percent; Arkansas, 11.5 percent; Kansas, 11.0 percent; Louisiana, 10.7 percent; and West Virginia, 10.4 percent. Liability for Fatal Truck Accidents Because there are many causes of fatal truck accidents, questions are often raised about issues such as: the truck driver's actions, whether the truck driver's employer or the truck's owner can be held liable, and how the actions of other drivers may have contributed to the crash. For truck crash victims, receiving compensation after an accident can be a complicated and time-consuming process. That's why, if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, it's best to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney to learn more about your legal options. Related Resources: State Traffic Safety Information For Year 2012 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) Truck Accident Injuries Up 18%: NHTSA Report (FindLaw's Injured) NHTSA Examines Role of Antilock Brake Systems in Reducing Truck Accidents (FindLaw's KnowledgeBase) Proving Fault in a Truck Accident: A Legal Checklist (FindLaw)
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Cyberbullying Victim? 3 Ways a Lawyer Can Help

Cyberbullying victims aren't just an invention of an overzealous news media. They're a reality. According to a new FindLaw.com survey, nearly 1 in 12 parents say their children have been targeted by cyberbullies. The survey also suggests ways that a lawyer may be able to help parents deal with the issue. Here are three ways enlisting an attorney can potentially assist a cyberbullying victim: 1. A Lawyer Can Advise You About Your Rights. Although most cyberbullying victims are children and teens, the effects of this harassment can unsettle entire families. This effect is the greatest when cyberbullying leads victims to drastic action such as committing suicide. An experienced personal injury attorney can sit down with family members and the bullying victim(s) to evaluate their case based on the facts and state and local laws. About half of the nation's states have laws specifically relating to cyberbullying, and an attorney can help explain how these laws apply to the victim's case. Even if your state lacks more focused cyberbullying legislation, a lawyer can discuss your options under a potential harassment claim. 2. A Lawyer Can Help You Communicate With Your Child's School. Sometimes parents feel just as powerless as children when reporting cyberbullying to school administrators. According to FindLaw.com's survey, three out of four parents choose to share these incidents with others, and a lawyer can help these parents effectively communicate with their children's schools. Even if it doesn't mean filing a lawsuit, a lawyer can help you draft demand letters to request changes in school policy or even monetary compensation for cyberbullying that occurred on a school's watch. An education attorney can also help parents navigate the complicated world of public school bureaucracies. 3. An Attorney Can Help Draft Legislation and Lobby Policymakers. After you've discussed your legal options, you may be unsatisfied with the protections that the current laws grant you or your child. A great way to change that is to work with grassroots anti-bullying groups to propose new cyberbullying laws or other changes in policy. It may not be surprising, but a proposed bill that has been drafted by a lawyer has a greater chance of being taken seriously than one drafted by a non-lawyer. Enlisting the help of an attorney who is well versed in state and local laws can make your proposed cyberbullying law a legal reality. Victims of cyberbullying aren't without options, and with a lawyer's help, families can explore them. Related Resources: Cyberbullying: Proposed Federal Law Aims to Define Codes of Conduct (New York City's NY1) How Common Is Cyberbullying? Survey Says... (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) FindLaw Cyberbullying Survey: A Refresher for Parents (FindLaw's Insider) Cyberbullying: A Rundown of Cyberbullying Laws (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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‘Hot Convict’ Sues Website Over Mugshot Ad

A Florida woman is suing a background check website for using her mugshot in a "hot convict" ad that went viral. Meagan Simmons, 28, of Zephyrhills, has filed a lawsuit accusing InstantCheckmate.com of using her image for financial gain without her permission -- and especially without giving her a cut of the profits, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Does this "hot convict" have a case? Mugshot Turns Into Meme Although Simmons is suing InstantCheckmate.com for the use of her mugshot in its advert, the mother of four wasn't ignorant of the photo before this suit. In an interview with The Huffington Post in April, Simmons was described as "making the most of her newfound fame," and even reposting the meme versions of her mugshot on her Facebook page. According to the Times, the photo came from a July 2010 booking photo of Simmons, taken when she had been arrested for DUI. Despite its use as a meme, Simmons' suit alleges that her mugshot's use in an InstantCheckmate.com ad caused her anguish and invaded her privacy. Invasion of Privacy Like someone who uses a celebrity's picture in an ad without permission, InstantCheckmate.com may be guilty of appropriating Simmons' likeness without her permission -- an invasion of her privacy. Although Simmons is not a famous actor or celebrity, InstantCheckmate.com likely did take advantage of her Internet fame in order to make a buck using her image -- without paying Simmons a dime. Simmons attorney explained to the Times that the issue of commercial profits is what separates InstantCheckmate.com from the thousands of "hot convict" memes propagated with Simmons' mugshot. Those meme-creators weren't using Simmons' face to make money, but InstantCheckmate.com was. Getting a Mugshot Taken Down In addition to monetary damages, Simmons is seeking an injunction to prevent further use of her mugshot by InstantCheckmate.com. Other arrestees have had to travel down long legal roads to get their mugshots taken down by similar websites -- with some sites charging huge "takedown" fees to remove a mugshot photo. If you find your mugshot online, you can choose to contact the website and request the photo be removed. However, you may wish to take a page out of Simmons' book and contact an attorney first. Related Resources: Florida Woman Meagan Simmons Sues Website Over "Hot Convict" Mug Shot (The Associated Press) Mugshot Websites Sued Over Takedown Fees (FindLaw's Injured) Samantha Ronson' DUI Mugshot: Lohan's Ex Arrested at 10 am (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice) Patrick Tribett Sues Those Turning Gold Mugshot into Mugshot Gold (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
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Can Adults Sue Over a Parent’s Wrongful Death?

For an adult child, filing a lawsuit over the wrongful death of a parent can be a tricky matter. Generally, surviving members of a victim's family can sue for wrongful death when the victim dies from the negligence or misconduct of another. But because of the way damages are calculated, recovery for a parent's wrongful death can get complicated when adult children file suit. Here's why: Who Can File for Wrongful Death? The vast majority of wrongful death suits are filed by immediate family members such as spouses, parents, and children. Some states have laws that specify exactly who can file a wrongful death suit and limit it to those people listed. But others allow a more pragmatic approach. That would permit non-traditional families or large extended families to file wrongful death suits as well. For adult children, the more pressing issue is the way wrongful death damages are calculated. Will Adult Children Be Awarded Damages? Wrongful death claims are designed to help plaintiffs deal with current and future financial losses resulting from the victim's death. To win a wrongful death suit, surviving relatives must demonstrate they suffered a cognizable monetary injury as a result of their loved one's passing. That can be a difficult burden to meet for adult children who are no longer financially dependent on their parents. That being said, adult children might be able to recover damages for the loss of his or her relationship with the parent. Because the surviving spouse typically has a stronger wrongful death claim, a better option might be to split the surviving spouse's wrongful death damages with the children. Depending on state law, each adult child may have a right to equally share in the recovery that results from a wrongful death claim. But that's not the rule of thumb in every state. For example, a Wisconsin appeals court ruled in 2012 that a surviving spouse cannot pass ownership of a wrongful death claim to a decedent's adult children. In addition, the court ruled the state's wrongful death statute bars a decedent's adult children from recovering for loss of society and companionship if the wrongful death claim belongs to a surviving spouse, The State Bar of Wisconsin reports. Because the state rules vary significantly when it comes to adult children and wrongful death lawsuits, you'll want to consult an experienced wrongful death attorney in your area for additional guidance. Related Resources: How Do Survival Statutes Affect Injury Lawsuits? (FindLaw's Injured) Bullied Girl's Mom Files Wrongful Death Suits (FindLaw's Injured) Girl, 13, Wins $150M Wrongful Death Verdict (FindLaw's Injured) Dump Truck Hits, Kills Mom Putting Kid in Van (FindLaw's Injured)
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School Bus Crashes: 3 Questions Before You Sue

After a school bus crash, when does it make sense to file a lawsuit? Some parents and at least one injured driver may be asking that question today, after a school bus crashed near Walt Disney World in Florida. The accident between a school bus and a PT Cruiser left 10 people hurt, including nine students on the bus and the driver of the PT Cruiser, the Orlando Sentinel reports. If you're involved in a school bus accident -- either as a passenger or a driver of another vehicle -- you may want to ask yourself these three questions before filing a lawsuit: Who was at fault? To file a successful lawsuit after a school bus crash, you'll likely have to prove the bus driver was driving negligently. Certain types of accidents are presumed to be one driver's fault, and insurance companies typically attempt to settle immediately. For example, the victims of the Florida bus crash will probably have a relatively easy time determining fault because the bus driver allegedly violated the right of way when making a left turn. Generally speaking, left-turn collisions are almost always the fault of the driver making the left turn because cars crossing straight through the intersection usually have the right of way. Was the bus driver an "agent" of the school? When filing a lawsuit, you'll also want to look into the employer's liability. If the bus driver was acting as an agent of the school -- for example, when students are being transported on the bus -- the school could be held vicariously liable for the accident. The question for vicarious liability is whether the driver was acting within the scope of his or her employment. The answer may not be so clear-cut in some cases -- for example, if the driver was on lunch break or was running a personal errand in the midst of her job-related duties. Are you following the proper procedures to sue? If the school bus accident involves a public school district, there may be some procedural hurdles to overcome (like filing a tort claim and waiting for a response) before you're allowed to file a lawsuit. Generally, suing a school district is an uphill, often losing battle for plaintiffs and involves a complex legal process, as Educational Managment Consulting explains. When you don't carefully follow the requirements, you may lose your right to remedies. Of course there are other factors to consider too, such as the statute of limitations and your state's cap on personal injury damages (if applicable). For additional assistance on filing a lawsuit after a school bus accident, you may want to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer in your area. Related Resources: $14M Award to Bus Crash Victim Capped at $500K? (FindLaw's Injured) Missouri School Bus Crash Kills 2, Injures More (FindLaw's Injured) School Bus Accident In Kings School District Raises Questions (FindLaw's Injured) Dad, Sons Rescued From Canal After Multi-Car Crash (FindLaw's Injured)
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