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car crash

Easter Egg Hunt Injury Lawsuit: Mom Sues for $112K

The Clakamas County annual Easter Eggstravaganza egg hunt is scheduled to proceed this year with 20,000 eggs, and the Easter bunny being flown in by Helicopter, just like tradition dictates. However, a recent lawsuit for $112,000 filed against the Eggstravaganza venue and organizer as a result of an injury that occurred last year is attracting attention in the lead up to this year’s event. Although the event is geared towards participants under 12, last year, an adult who was accompanying their child was injured when the crowd rushed in, knocking her over, causing her a severe knee injury. The injury required surgery and a protracted recovery. The lawsuit alleges that the venue and organizer were negligent in not providing sufficient staff, security, and/or crowd control to ensure the safety of attendees. Event Organizer and Venue Liability The organizers of an event, as well as the venue where an event takes place, can both be held liable if an event attendee is injured as a result of negligence, such as poor property conditions, or allowing overcrowding to occur. Generally, organizers and venues are responsible for ensuring the safety of their guests, and must take reasonable steps to do so. When reasonable steps are not taken, organizers and venue owners can be sued under a legal theory of negligence or premises liability. In the Eggstravaganza case, for instance, the plaintiff is alleging that the organizers and venue allowed overcrowding to occur, and did not have effective crowd control. The complaint explains that this was case, particularly, when people who were not supposed to be on the Easter egg field, ran onto the field and knocked the plaintiff over, causing her injury. Eggshell Plaintiffs An injury victim can sometimes seem to have a disproportionately large injury given the circumstances surrounding an accident or event. However, under the law, a person with a pre-existing condition, or a high-susceptibility to injury, is entitled to recover for the full extent of their injuries. In lawyer-talk, these types of individuals are often referred to as eggshell plaintiffs, and can include the elderly, disabled, or those with medical conditions. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get matched with a local attorney. (Consumer Injury) 3 Easter Injuries to Avoid (FindLaw’s Injured) Is It Legal to Dye Baby Chickens? (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life) First Grader Handcuffed After Easter Egg Tantrum (FindLaw Blotter)
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Driver Liability for Cell Phone Related Car Accident

How an accident happens will largely determine who is ultimately held liable. If the at fault driver was found to have caused the accident while talking or texting, they will likely have more difficulty defending their case, and they may potentially face additional penalties. Nearly every state has laws on distracted driving, and most include some limitations on the use of cell phones by drivers. Regardless of whether you have an ear piece, integrated Bluetooth, or speakerphone system, if you are talking or texting on a cell phone while driving, an officer or other party can claim that you were driving while distracted. According to the most recent report by the NHTSA, one in ten on the road fatalities involved distraction. Accidents While Phoning or Texting If a driver is found to be at fault for an accident, then they can also be found liable for the injuries and property damage they caused. While a majority of auto accident cases settle out of court, the facts concerning how the crash happened are relevant to establishing the injured party's case for damages. When a jury is asked to decide an auto accident injury case, they will usually be tasked with deciding two primary issues:Whether the defendant caused the injuries and damages.How much money should be awarded to the plaintiff for suffering the injuries and damages. In most jurisdictions, if both parties are considered to be partly at fault, or fault is uncertain, the party that is found to be more than 50% at fault, generally is the party held responsible for the damages. If a party was on the phone when the accident occurred, they may be found some percentage (comparatively) at fault. In states like California, if a driver is found to be 25% at fault, any award they receive will be reduced by their percentage of fault. Rear-Ended While Talking on the Phone There are some auto-accident cases where it won't matter if the victim was on the phone or texting. If you are stopped at a red light, and you get rear-ended while texting or talking on the phone, it is highly unlikely that your texting or talking had anything to do with causing the accident. In this sort of a situation, your phone use, while still potentially against the law, generally cannot be used to attack liability. Related Resources: Find Personal Injury Lawyers in Your Area (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) What's More Dangerous Than Texting and Driving? (FindLaw's Injured) 1 in 4 Car Crashes Involves Cell Phone Use: Report (FindLaw's Injured) Is Apple Liable for Distracted Driving Accidents? (FindLaw's Injured)
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My Car Accident Insurance Claim Was Denied

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help. Most insurance companies only make money when they can take payments on customer policies and don't have to make payments on customer claims. And the less scrupulous insurance companies will find any reason not to pay claims. So it's not all that surprising if your car accident insurance claim was denied. What may be surprising to some, however, is that the denial doesn't mean you're out of options. Here's what you can do if your car insurance company has denied your accident claim. Additional Insurance Claims If you're involved in a multi-car accident and your insurance company denies your claim, you could file a claim with the other driver's insurance company. The law requires every driver to have automobile insurance, and most policies cover damage to another person, their property, or vehicle. If another driver was at fault in your accident, you may be able to recover from his or her insurance company. Make sure to always exchange insurance information after an accident, and you can use police reports and your own evidence to prove who was responsible for the accident. Additional Legal Claims Insurance companies aren't your only source of compensation for vehicle damage or injuries -- you can also file a lawsuit. And you have options when it comes to suing for your injuries. If the accident wasn't serious, you could file a suit in small claims court. Generally, small claims courts only hear cases involving damages of $5,000 or less, although that cap can vary by state. And some small claims courts may request the parties attend mediation rather than litigate the issue. For more severe car accidents, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. You may be able to recover more in damages in civil court, and you may be able to sue more parties as well. If another driver was negligent and caused the accident, you can sue the driver, and possibly their insurance company. Additionally, you could sue your car insurance company as well, if you believe they denied your claim in bad faith. Car accident lawsuits can be complicated, so you'll want someone with knowledge and experience on your side. If you've been injured in a car accident and your insurance company denied your claim, contact a personal injury attorney in your area to discuss your case. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) After an Accident: Insurance Claim or Lawsuit? (FindLaw's Injured) When Insurance Isn't Enough: Car Accident Lawsuits (FindLaw's Injured) Coverage for Car Accidents With Uninsured Motorists (FindLaw's Injured)
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Repo Gone Wrong Ends in Manslaughter Charges

Would you die to save your car from a repo agent? That is what happened this week when a woman in Pleasant Grove, Utah crashed her vehicle during a high speed chase — she was trying to get away from a man who came to her door to repossess the vehicle. Now Ashleigh Best, 35, is dead, and Kenneth Drew, 49, is in jail on manslaughter charges. He denies driving Best to her death, reports the Daily Mail. Let’s consider this tragic accident and the legal limits on repossession. Mother Under Pressure Ashleigh Best was under pressure. It seems life in Pleasant Grove was not all pleasant. The mother of three was living with her husband and family at her parents’ house in order to get their finances together. When Kenneth Drew came knocking on the door to repossess the car, her husband begged Drew to wait and let him call the bank. The repo man reportedly said no and Ashleigh Best drove off in the car, hoping to save it from him. Drew gave chase, though the repo man denies he drove at high speeds, and Best crashed her car into a tree. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The company Drew works for, On Demand Repo, stated that its policy is not to chase people. As for their agent, they said Drew didn’t have a mean bone in his body and asked that people wait until the investigation concludes before deciding what happened. Pleasant Grove Police Lieutenant Britt Smith, however, told reporters, “I’ve never, in my 15 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen a repo agent be this aggressive. I’ve never seen anything like it. It doesn’t justify chasing her down through the roads, city streets, at high rates of speeds, causing fatal traffic accidents. The end doesn’t justify the means.” Repossession Rules Smith’s statement raises the question — just how aggressive can a repo agent be? The rules for repossession depend on state statutes and these vary in the details. Some states require agents to notify police of any actions they will take. Others outline specific methods of approach. No state permits a breach of the peace. There are limitations on agents and that they cannot break the law in order to repossess property. Still, On Demand Repo also makes an important point, and one which is the cornerstone of criminal law. Kenneth Drew is accused of manslaughter, but he has not been proven guilty of causing the fatal accident. For now at least, he is innocent. Accused? If you are accused of a crime, don’t delay in getting legal advice. Many criminal defense attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to talk about your case. Related Resources: Find Criminal Defense Lawyers Near You (FindLaw’s Lawyer Directory) The Rich Aren’t That Different: They Have Repo Men Too (FindLaw’s Legally Weird) 3 Potential Ways to Sue a Repo Agent (FindLaw’s Injured) How to Get a Repossessed Car Back (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
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How Does Credit Card Insurance on a Rental Car Work?

True story: I once slaughtered a deer with a rented Toyota Yaris in the middle of Florida's Ocala National Forest. The car was effectively totaled -- front caved in, airbags deployed -- it was barely drivable. The friendly sheriff's officer who finally spotted me said the same thing everyone else does when I start this story: "I hope you got the insurance." I had not. Lucky for me, I rented the car with a credit card, and many credit card companies (mine included) offer insurance on card purchases, including rental cars. So what does credit card insurance cover when it comes to rental cars? And how do you make sure you're covered? Your Life, Your Card, Your Insurance Like many of you, I had heard that buying rental car insurance coverage was a scam. But that's only true if you're otherwise covered, like under your car insurance policy. Another place you might be covered is by your credit card agreement. So if you'd rather not pay $15 - $25 per day for rental car insurance, use your credit card to reserve and pay for the rental car. (NOTE: you have to use the card to reserve the car and put the car in your name. Just having the card in your wallet won't suffice.) But be aware that not all cards offer rental car insurance, and those that do will often have varying degrees of coverage. Everywhere You Want to Be Covered Most cards will have what's known as secondary rental insurance, which covers any remaining costs not covered by your own auto insurance policy. But some cards offer primary car rental insurance, which covers damages directly and without you having to deal with your car insurance company. There are some limitations to this coverage: foreign rentals in some countries are excluded, and you have to decline the rental company's insurance to qualify. But if you're covered, the credit card company will cover the loss of the vehicle, often without any deductible or added fees. Having the credit card insurance ended up saving me about $5,000, so you might want to check if your card covers you before declining the rental car company's coverage. Related Resources: Credit Cards That Offer Primary Car Rental Coverage (The Points Guy) Rental Car Crashes: 5 First Steps to Consider (FindLaw's Injured) Need to Know: Car Accidents in Other Countries (FindLaw's Injured) Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Case? (FindLaw's Injured)
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Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Case?

If you're involved in a car accident, do you need the help of a car accident attorney? For very minor accidents, filing an insurance claim with your or the other drivers' insurance is often the easiest way to repair damage to your vehicle or to cover medical expenses related to minor injuries. Drivers also have the option of taking a claim for a relatively minor amount to small claims court. But there are other situations in which the assistance of an attorney may be necessary. When should you consider hiring an attorney to handle your car accident case? Here are a few common scenarios: There's a dispute about who's at fault. In a car accident, the party at fault for causing the accident is generally liable for the other person's damages or injuries. When fault in an accident is in dispute, a lawyer can help you prove that the other party was entirely or at least mostly at fault. There's a dispute over how much you have to pay or how much you'll receive. The majority of personal injury claims arising from car crashes are settled before ever reaching trial. But you may need a lawyer to successfully negotiate your settlement to ensure that you don't get stuck receiving less or paying more than you should. Serious injuries resulted, especially injuries that require ongoing medical care. When injuries arising from a car accident require long-term medical attention, calculating damages may be more difficult and the amount of damages involved may be dramatically increased. A lawyer will know how to properly prove or dispute these damages in court. You're being taken to court. If you are being sued as a result of your car accident, trying to defend yourself in court may be more difficult than it seems. An experienced lawyer will know the court system inside and out; he or she will be able to gather the evidence needed to defend you in court or negotiate a fair settlement with the other side. You just don't want to have to handle your own claim. Bringing or defending a car accident claim may take years to resolve and in any event may require a significant amount of time and effort. Having a lawyer handle your case can take the pressure off, preventing you from agreeing to an unfair settlement or missing an important deadline in your case. If you have more questions about your case, keep in mind that many car accident attorneys offer free consultations. You can also learn more about car accident lawsuits at FindLaw's section on Car Accident Liability. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) 5 Things a Car Accident Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can't) (FindLaw's Injured) Can You Settle a Car Accident With No Insurance? (FindLaw's Injured) 5 Signs You May Need a Car Accident Lawyer (FindLaw's Injured)
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Top 10 Tips for Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The National Safety Council has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to the Council, thousands of people die each year in crashes caused by cell phone use while driving. But phone calls and text messages aren't the only distractions drivers should try to avoid while behind the wheel. Here are 10 tips and facts to keep in mind for Distracted Driving Awareness Month: New teen drivers are distracted more easily. Drivers between the ages of 15 to 20 make up only 6.4 percent of drivers on the road, but account for 11.4 percent of traffic fatalities. So parents, please teach your kids responsible driving habits. Every distracted second counts. Keep in mind that if you're looking down at your cell phone for only 4 seconds while driving, you could be driving the entire length of a football field without looking at the road. Eating while driving can be considered distracting. Although Distracted Driving Awareness Month focuses more on cell phone use, eating while driving can get you pulled over if cops think your snack time is taking your attention off the road. Cell phone records can be used in court. Think you can keep your cell phone use while driving a secret? Think again. Text-message and call records from cell-phone companies can be used in court to prove that you were distracted when the accident occurred. Texting and driving can lead to child endangerment charges. A California mom was arrested when she was caught texting and driving while she had her 1-year-old baby in her lap without any child restraints. Distracted driving can lead to public shaming. A local project in San Francisco called "TWIT Spotting" encourages bystanders to snap pictures of distracted drivers and turn them in. The photos are then posted on the "TWIT Spotting" website or placed on billboards in an effort to publicly shame the driver for his dangerous behavior. Texting crash videos will make you think twice. While they may be hard to watch, texting crash videos serve as a somber reminder of what can happen when you take your attention away from the road, even for a split second. Hands-free cell phone use can still be distracting. Although hands-free cell phone use while driving is generally legal in many places, it can still be a distraction for drivers who get wrapped up in their conversations and forget about the road. Use an app to curb your bad habits. There are smartphone apps out there that automatically shut off your messaging apps and temporarily stop incoming calls and text messages when you're driving. You could land in some deep doo-doo. Finally, there's a lesson to be learned from the driver who was texting while driving a rented convertible when he crashed into a truck hauling liquid manure. So don't be a doo-doo head and steer clear of all distractions while you're driving. Although Distracted Driving Awareness Month only lasts until the end of April, you should hang up all bad habits that lead to distracted driving year-round. To learn more about distracted driving laws and potential consequences, check out FindLaw's article on Distracted Driving. Related Resources: Cell Phone Crash Data (National Safety Council) Texting and Driving: 3 Ways to Prove It (FindLaw's Blotter) Texting a Driver May Make You Liable: N.J. Court (FindLaw's Injured) Driver's Google Glass Ticket Dismissed; Judge Sees No Proof (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
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If You’re Injured at the Gym, Can You Sue?

Injuries at the gym are fairly common. Whether it's pulling a muscle from doing too many reps or slipping in the locker because an overflowing shower made the floor wet, you may be wondering if your gym membership allows you to recover damages. So can you sue your gym if you're injured on the premises? Here are a few factors to consider before you file a lawsuit: What Does Your Liability Waiver Say? Most gyms require members to sign some type of liability waiver before joining. It's very possible that heavy lifting or exercise will lead to injuries, so gym owners are rightfully protecting themselves from lawsuits by enforcing liability waivers. However, depending on the type of liability waiver found in your contract, you may still be able to sue if you're injured at the gym. Some common liability waivers found in gym contracts include: A total waiver of liability. This means that the gym is free of all liability for any injury that occurs there. However, these types of agreements can be held unenforceable in court if they're overly broad. A waiver for negligence. This prevents gym members from suing for injuries caused by the gym or its employees' own negligence (i.e., accidents). These waivers are usually enforceable in court. A waiver of liability for intentional acts. In general, it's unconscionable or against public policy for courts to enforce waivers for intentional or reckless conduct that injures someone. So depending on the type of liability waiver that's found in your gym contract, you may be able to sue if you get injured at the gym. For example, if a gym owner knew that a weight machine was broken and could collapse if someone uses it, but doesn't warn members or fix it, then it could be considered reckless behavior that warrants a lawsuit. Potential Premises Liability Claims Like all other businesses, gym owners have a duty to ensure that the facility is reasonably safe for members and anyone conducting business there. Under premises liability laws, gym owners are responsible for inspecting the facility for defects and potential dangers. Even the gym employees or owner didn't know about a dangerous condition, they may be liable if a proper inspection would've revealed it. So if you're injured at the gym, check your membership contract and consult a personal injury attorney in your area about your potential legal claims. Related Resources: Does Your Gym's Liability Waiver Mean Squat? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can I Sue to Cancel My Gym Membership? (FindLaw's Injured) Top 3 Secrets of Gym Membership Contracts (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Is Tough Mudder's Death Waiver Legal? (FindLaw's Injured)
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3 Ways Truck Crashes Can Differ From Car Crashes

Any motor vehicle accident can lead to property damage or injury, but are there many potnetial ways in which a truck crash can differ from an "ordinary" car crash. From special insurance coverage to commercial truck laws, there are actually several factors that can make truck accidents unique. Here are three common differences between commercial truck accidents and standard car accidents: Commercial truck laws. A variety of laws impose special rules and restrictions on commercial truck drivers and trucking companies. When you're involved in a truck accident, those special commercial truck laws may come into play, such as how many hours the driver was behind the wheel, whether the driver was on a cell phone, whether the truck was properly maintained, and whether the truck was hauling hazardous material. Vicarious liability. Unlike ordinary car accidents involving individual drivers like yourself, truck accidents present a host of potential vicarious liability issues, including whether the truck driver was an employee or a contractor, whether the driver was acting in the scope of his or her employment during the accident, and whether the driver was engaging in a detour or frolic. More parties (and more lawyers) involved. When you're involved in a "regular" car accident, your lawsuit is typically limited to the other driver and his or her insurance company. But in truck accidents, you may have vicarious liability issues on the table, so you're potentially looking at many more parties involved in the case than an ordinary car accident case. Even if you can't find fault with the driver, there might be others who could be held liable, such as the truck company (for example, for negligent hiring, training, or retention) or a truck parts manufacturer (for a defective part that caused the accident). Because of these various parties, there could be many attorneys involved, representing the trucking company, the company's driver, equipment manufacturers, and others. These are just a few common ways that truck crashes can differ from car crashes. If you're ready to meet with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of truck accident cases, then head over to FindLaw's Truck Accident Lawyer Directory to connect with one today. Related Resources: Five Things to Research Before Meeting a Truck Accident Attorney (FindLaw) Proving Fault in a Truck Accident Checklist (FindLaw) Truck Accident Damages: How Much Can You Collect? (FindLaw's Injured) Truck Accident Injuries Up 18%: NHTSA Report (FindLaw's Injured)
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When Can You Sue for Loss of Consortium?

Loss of consortium is a personal injury claim that can lead to damages for loss of affection and normal marital relations. In some cases, loss of consortium can also apply to a relationship between parents and children. So when can a loss of consortium claim be made, and what will you have to prove in order to prevail in court? Here are some general guidelines: Who Can Sue? Loss of consortium is usually limited to the loss of love, sexual relations, and services of a spouse. The loss of these services can result from another person's negligence, medical malpractice, assault, battery, wrongful death, or other forms of actionable personal injury claims. Loss of consortium claims are usually initiated by the uninjured spouse, who may be able to join the injured spouse's lawsuit. However, the injured spouse may also be able to sue for loss of consortium. For example, a man whose genitals were burned while using a urinal at a fast-food restaurant sued the chain for failing to make sure the premises were safe. His wife joined the lawsuit claiming loss of consortium because her husband's burned genitals prevented them from having sex. In some cases, parents can sue for loss of consortium with their child. This damage is usually limited to circumstances in which minor children are severely injured. Generally speaking, the injuries must be serious enough to interfere with the normal relationship between parents and their kids. Proving Loss of Consortium To prove loss of consortium for married couples, the court will consider the "value" of the loss by considering several factors including: How stable the marriage is, The couple's individual life expectancy, and The extent to which the benefits of married life were actually lost. For example, a spouse who's in a coma after an accident will likely be seen as losing a greater amount of marital benefits than a spouse who suffered a broken leg. Depending on the type personal injury case, the damages awarded for loss of consortium may differ. Loss of consortium is a form of non-economic damage. Unlike calculable costs like hospital bills, non-economic damages are more abstract and usually account for one's pain and suffering. Although it depends on your state's laws, there may be a cap on personal injury actions for non-economic damages in certain types of cases. But these laws can potentially be challenged. In Florida, for example, a $1 million cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice wrongful-death claims was recently struck down by the state's Supreme Court. As the amount of damages awarded for loss of consortium is determined on a case-by-case basis, an experienced personal injury attorney can give you a better idea of what to expect in your case. Related Resources: Accident & Injury Law (FindLaw) Walmart Dress Caused Sexless Marriage, Lawsuit Claims (FindLaw's Legally Weird) NYC Citi Bike Injury Lawsuit Seeks $15M (FindLaw's Injured) Kentucky Court Expands Spousal Right to Sue for Loss of Consortium (FindLaw's Knowledgebase)
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