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compensatory damages

Knott’s Berry Farm Faces Second Log Ride Injury Lawsuit

Five-year-old Charles Miller was sitting in his father's lap on the Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott's Berry Farm in California when the ride came to a screeching halt after the last drop. According to a lawsuit filed against the theme park by his father, Miller flew forward, forcing his head to be "sandwiched between his father and the back of the seat causing an orbital blowout." Miller suffered a fractured eye socket, and the lawsuit claims Knott's Farm negligently maintained the ride. It turns out this is not the first problem with the log ride or the first lawsuit filed against the park: the family of a 6-year-old girl settled with Knott's Berry after she broke a bone above her right eye hitting her head on the ride, and the Miller suit cites ten other examples where guests were injured in similar incidents. Improper Water The problems for the log ride allegedly occur on the final descent into a large pool of water. According to the lawsuit: [T]he water sensing system for the Timber Mountain Log Ride was not properly monitoring the water level on the ride, especially at the bottom of the last drop, where there was improper water for proper braking, which increased the deceleration experienced by the guests in the log and contributed to their being injured by being thrown against the log's interior components. The suit also claims the California Division of Occupational Safety had previously inspected the ride, made Knott's Berry Farm aware the water sensing system was not working properly, and that the ride was operating out of compliance for almost two years. Contemptible Conduct "The conduct of the Defendants was so vile, base, contemptible, miserable, wretched and loathsome," the lawsuit claims, "that it would be looked down upon and despised by ordinary decent people." Along with compensatory damages for the child's injuries, the suit is also asking for punitive damages against Knott's Berry Farm as well as attorneys' fees. Related Resources: Child Battered by Knott's Berry Farm Log Ride, Family Says (Courthouse News) Who's Liable for Waterpark Injuries? (FindLaw's Injured) When to Sue for Theme Park Injuries (FindLaw's Injured) Disneyland Sued in 140 Injury Cases in 5 Years (FindLaw's Injured)
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Businessman’s $21 Million Brain Injury Verdict Threatened

A man who successfully sued a cruise line for a head injury may not see his $21 million in damages after all. The man’s former assistant has revealed that she lied about his brain injury for him before the trial and was then fired right before the case was going to be heard, reports The Seattle Times. James Hausman won $5 million in compensatory damages and $16 million in punitive damages for an injury he sustained due to a faulty sliding glass door on a Holland America cruise ship. The company, having learned from Hausman’s former assistant that he deleted emails, tampered with witnesses, and exaggerated the severity of his injury, is seeking to have the jury verdict overturned. Lying Now or Before Amy Mizeur, who served as Hausman’s personal assistant until just before the case went to trial, testified at a hearing in federal court in Seattle that her former employer ordered her to lie about injuries. She said she enrolled him for a brain-injury study although she knew he was faking seizures. Mizeur even admitted to documenting fake seizures in emails written to others, saying, “It was a show. I never saw him struggle.” The former assistant turned to Holland America after the trial was over and after she was fired, letting the insurer know that she had helped her former employer falsify evidence. But Hausman’s lawyer pointed out that she could hardly be trusted. After all, Meizer either lied after the trial or before, so she was not a reliable witness. What’s at Stake? The unanimous verdict in Hausman’s personal injury lawsuit was among the largest in recent memory in Seattle federal court. In addition to the punitive damages, Hausman, 61, was awarded $5 million for past and future pain, suffering and emotional distress. Now all of that is at risk as a court determines whether to dismiss the case or grant a new trial. Injured? If you have been genuinely injured in any setting — be it on a cruise ship or elsewhere — speak to a lawyer. Consulting with counsel costs nothing. Related Resources: Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) Brain Injury Symptims and Diagnosis (FindLaw) Brain Injury Lawsuit FAQs (FindLaw)
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Falling Carry-On Bag Leads to Injury, Airline Lawsuit

A man who claims he was injured on a Southwest Airlines flight by a falling carry-on bag has filed a lawsuit against the airline. Jerry Reinhardt was seated on a Southwest plane at Portland International Airport in 2013 when another passenger tried to fit a large carry-on bag into the compartment above Reinhardt's head, reports The Oregonian. Reinhardt's lawsuit claims that when a flight attendant came to help the passenger cram the bag into the overhead bin, the bag fell on him, causing him to suffer an injury. Why does Reinhardt think the airline should be responsible for his injury, and how much is he seeking to recover? Negligence, Failure to Train In his lawsuit, Reinhardt claims the airline is at fault for his injury because it allowed the passenger to board the plane with a bag that was too large to fit in the overhead bins provided for carry-on luggage. In a negligence lawsuit, a plaintiff generally must prove that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to act with a certain level of care in a specific situation and that the defendant's failure to uphold this duty led to the plaintiff's injuries. In this case, Reinhardt will likely argue that Southwest should have prevented bags too large from fitting in overhead bins from being taken onto the plane and that failing to do so led to Reinhardt's injury, which was a foreseeable result of Southwest's alleged negligence. Reinhardt also claims that Southwest failed to properly train its employees. In addition to generally being liable for the on-the-job negligence of employees, an employer may also be liable for negligent training if employees were not trained properly and that failure leads to an injury. Lawsuit Seeks $49K in Damages Reinhardt is seeking $49,000 in damages from Southwest. He claims the bag caused him to suffer a compressed disc in his back, leading to $10,000 in medical bills and $5,000 in lost income. The remaining $34,000 in damages is for pain and suffering. In a personal injury case, compensatory damages are awarded in order to compensate an injured person for losses related to an injury. In addition to medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses incurred as a result of an injury, compensatory damages may also include pain and suffering damages, which compensate an injured person for mental and physical anguish caused by an injury. In Reinhardt's case, he claims in his lawsuit that the injury to his back and neck caused him to suffer headaches, dizziness, and nausea, all of which may factor into a potential pain and suffering award. Southwest did not return The Oregonian's calls seeking comment about the lawsuit. Related Resources: Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) How to Sue an Airline Over Damage, Injury (FindLaw's Injured) Injured on an Airplane: How Can You Recover? (FindLaw's Injured) Lawyer Sues Airline Over Cockroaches on Plane (FindLaw's Injured)
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Brain Injury Lawsuits: How Much Is Your Case Worth?

Brain injuries can cause permanent physical and mental damage. Determining the value of a person's injuries can often be complicated. Generally, damage awards in a personal injury case include two types of damages: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Punitive damages are typically reserved for cases in which a defendant's actions justify a monetary punishment as opposed to simply compensating a victim, and are generally awarded at the discretion of a judge or jury. In most injury cases, the value of your case will largely depend on the amount of compensatory damages you are awarded. How are these damages calculated in a brain injury lawsuit? Calculating Damages There are a number of different factors that may contribute to the amount of damages a court determines were caused by an accident or injury. In a case involving brain injuries, it may be important to consider not just damages that have already occurred, but also those that are likely to occur in the future as a result of a brain injury. For example, lost wages from work missed following an injury are one common type of damage recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit. But in a brain injury lawsuit, it will also be important to show the loss of future earning capacity due to the long-term physical, mental, and emotional effects of a brain injury. Other Types of Compensatory Damages Lost wages and future earning capacity are just two of many potential factors in a damages calculation. Some other common sources of damages include: Medical expenses. These may include not only the cost of treatment following an accident or injury, but the need for future medical expenses as well. Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages allow a plaintiff to recover for both past and present mental and physical anguish suffered as a result of an injury. Loss of enjoyment. Sometimes included in pain and suffering damages, loss of enjoyment damages, also known as hedonic damages, compensate a plaintiff for a loss in quality of life. Of course, each brain injury case is different, which is why you'll want to consult an attorney about the best way to pursue compensation. To learn more about brain injury lawsuits, head over to FindLaw's section on Brain Injury. Related Resources: Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) $150M Lawsuit Over Punch at Kid Rock Concert (FindLaw's Injured) Ex-Clemson Soccer Player Sues Over Hazing, Brain Injury (FindLaw's Injured) When Can You Sue for Punitive Damages? (FindLaw's Injured)
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Ryan Ferguson Files $100M Civil Rights Lawsuit

Ryan Ferguson's attorney has filed a $100 million civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the Missouri man wrongly convicted and imprisoned for nearly a decade. As you may recall, Ferguson, 29, was freed in November after spending more than eight years in prison for the murder of Missouri newspaper editor Kent Heitholt in 2001. The court overturned his conviction because the case was rife with evidentiary problems. On the 10th anniversary of his arrest, Ferguson is at the center of a legal dispute again, but this time as a victim in a civil lawsuit. Civil Lawsuit Filed Ryan Ferguson's lawsuit takes aim at the unlawful way authorities conducted their investigation and case. Ferguson's attorney Kathleen Zellner filed the suit against 12 defendants -- including individuals (cops, investigators, and attorneys) as well as the Columbia Police Department, the city of Columbia, Boone County, and the Boone County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Among the lawsuit's numerous claims are allegations of: Destruction and/or suppression of exculpatory evidence, Fabrication of evidence, Reckless or intentional failure to investigate, Malicious prosecution, Conspiracy to deprive constitutional rights, Failure to intervene, False arrest, Defamation, and Indemnification. None of the DNA collected at the scene, or the footprints and fingerprints, matched Ferguson; however, jurors unanimously convicted Ferguson by relying on the testimony of two witnesses. Those two witnesses later confessed to lying under the oath, according to the suit. In addition, details surfaced that prosecutors repeatedly failed to disclose exculpatory evidence -- evidence that could have helped Ferguson and may have changed the outcome of the case. There are also reports that the wife of the key witness was intimidated and coerced by authorities who were overly zealous about obtaining a conviction, St. Louis' KSDK-TV reports. Different Types of Damages The lawsuit asks for actual damages of $75 million and punitive damages of $25 million. Actual damages are awarded to compensate for actual losses (also called "compensatory damages"). The amount awarded is based on the proven harm, loss, or injury suffered by the plaintiff. The actual damages award does not include punitive damages, which may be awarded when a defendant's actions are especially reckless or malicious. Punitive damages are awarded in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing to punish or deter the wrongdoer or deter others from behaving similarly. Considering the level of misconduct alleged and the number of involved parties, Ferguson is certainly poised well to obtain a hefty settlement from his wrongful conviction. Related Resources: Attorney for wrongly convicted Ryan Ferguson files $100M lawsuit (CBS News) Ryan Ferguson vs. State of Missouri (FindLaw) Man Framed for Murder by N.Y. Cop Gets $6.4M (FindLaw's Injured) How Do You Get a Conviction Vacated? (FindLaw's Blotter)
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