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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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With Cover Charge, Party Hosts May Be Liable in Calif.

Social hosts who charge a cover to attend their parties can potentially be held liable for injuries caused by their drunken underage guests, the California Supreme Court has ruled. The unanimous ruling means anyone in California who charges admission to a party and serves alcohol to an intoxicated minor can be just as responsible for the minor's actions as a person who directly sells alcohol to a drunken minor, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Some lawyers say that by extending this type of liability to party hosts, it'll further deter people from serving alcohol to intoxicated guests under 21. The Scope of Social Host Liability The California ruling centers on social host liability, which works somewhat differently in different states. In some states, laws hold social hosts liable for accidents caused by drunken guests (of any age) who were served alcohol by the host. In other states, social host liability only applies when a host provides alcohol to obviously intoxicated guests under 21. In California, the law generally makes a social host immune from liability for drunken guests -- unless the host sells alcohol to a drunken minor who then gets into an accident. (Adult party hosts can also be held liable if they simply serve alcohol to a minor who then causes an accident, the Chronicle explains.) So what if a party host in California charges a cover and serves alcohol to minors? According to the California Supreme Court, an admission charge can qualify as a "sale" of alcohol to minors, and can potentially lead to liability for the social host. Underage Hosts Can Be Held Liable The California Supreme Court's ruling came in a lawsuit brought by parents of a man who was killed by a 20-year-old drunken driver following a house party in 2007. The party host, also 20, charged a cover for uninvited guests, including the driver -- who was already intoxicated when he arrived, the Chronicle reports. The victim's parents sued the party host, but a lower court dismissed their case, finding that no "sale" of alcohol had occurred and immunity applied. Monday's ruling by the state's highest court means the party host's cover charge can potentially qualify as a "sale," which could make the host liable for the victim's wrongful death. The lawsuit now heads back to a lower court for trial. Beyond this case, the California Supreme Court's ruling is significant in that it expands the liability for social hosts in the Golden State, Bay City News Service explains. Now, party hosts of any age who charge a cover and serve alcohol to drunken minors can potentially be sued over those intoxicated guests' actions. Related Resources: California high court rules cover charge at parties creates liability (Los Angeles Times) Drunk Super Bowl Guests Can Crash Your Party (FindLaw's Injured) Legal for Kids to Drink Alcohol With Parents? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Browse Personal Injury Lawyers by Location (FindLaw)
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