Do I Need A Personal Injury Lawyer? Here’s What You Need To Know!

Personal injury is a somewhat magical practice area of law for those who require an attorney’s services after sustaining an injury that was someone else’s fault. There is one primary reason why this is the case: most personal injury lawyers only make money when you do. That means if they take your case, they think they can settle outside of court or win inside of court if that’s where the lawsuit is ultimately headed.

But how do you know if you need a personal injury attorney? 

Car accidents account for the majority of all personal injury claims filed in the civil court system. You might incur significant injuries that leave you with reduced earning potential or missed time at work. You might have high medical bills. You might be left in a lot of pain and endure a lot of trauma. Someone else is responsible for causing the accident, which means you shouldn’t just go to your insurance company for help — you should also go to a personal injury lawyer.

If you were injured because of cracked cement along the sidewalk or a pothole in the road, you might not be able to collect as much compensation due to legal caps placed on lawsuits lodged against government authorities and local municipalities — but you should still seek whatever you can get. The government has the responsibility to keep infrastructure safe. Sometimes individual property owners are at fault, which means you can potentially collect much more.

Medical malpractice isn’t sought nearly as often as it should even though doctors or surgeons routinely make mistakes. You shouldn’t have to pay for them. Did you suffer because of a misdiagnosis? Did the surgeon leave a scalpel lodged in your abdominal cavity after a crazed dog attack? Not only can you sue the dog’s owner (assuming it wasn’t your own), but you can also sue the hospital for malpractice. 

If you were injured on the job because of relaxed safety precautions, workers compensation will usually cover most of your bills. Sometimes, though, you can still file a lawsuit against your workplace for gross negligence.

Were you exposed to a dangerous carcinogen at work or during your daily commute? You might be able to file a lawsuit for that as well, but there are also funds set up for survivors of certain kinds of exposure. Asbestos victims, for example, can sometimes collect from funds already set up, in addition to filing a lawsuit against any business not already defunct.

Remember: you shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistake, and lawyers only collect when you do. If you’re not sure whether or not you have a legitimate case, all it takes is a single call to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney.

Believe It Or Not, You Can Be Sued For…

We live in the era of the lawsuit. When someone hurts us, we don’t say, “Hey, it was just an accident. Let’s move on.” Instead, we call a personal injury lawyer to make sure we’re compensated for our financial losses. And why shouldn’t we? Someone else’s mistakes shouldn’t be ours to deal with. This era is about promoting fairness after all! That’s why we decided to make this list. You should know what might get you sued!

  1. As awful as it might sound, something as simple as sharing a photo to your blog could get you sued for copyright infringement if you don’t make sure no one owns the rights to it first. Of course, the plaintiff will probably need to prove you either damaged the property of made money off it if they expect to win the case.

    IP lawyer Tanisia Nicole Moore said, “We are all guilty of sharing an image online, but what most people don’t realize is that these images are protected through copyright law. The owner of the image can then sue you for using their work without permission.” Believe it or not, the number of these lawsuits are actually on the rise.
  2. And be extra careful about what you say online, because more people are taking their petty complaints to court on the basis of defamation. A judge won’t allow you to say you were just venting as an excuse to technically break the law if your complaints aren’t actually — and entirely — true.

    Attorney Paul H. Cannon said, “Social media has become such a common part of life that people forget that anything you write on social media is a publication, so if you write a false statement about someone online and it causes them harm to their reputation or financial loss, you can be sued for libel.”
  3. Be careful about what you say when posting a review online! People have been sued for this too, because business owners will claim they suffered undue financial losses. Cannon said, “As humans, we sometimes have a tendency to get outraged when we do not think we have been treated fairly. This can lead to embellishment of what really happened. However, you may find yourself sued for libel if you leave a very bad review.”
  4. Don’t get in a car accident. Common sense, right? But what isn’t common sense is that the person at fault for causing that collision sometimes sues the person who isn’t at fault — and gets away with it in court if you didn’t carry enough coverage to take care of expenses.

    Personal injury lawyer Andrew Winters said that not having insurance — or even not having enough — can get you sued by another person’s creditor, even if they were responsible for causing the accident.

Can I Sue Gun Manufacturers If Someone Shoots Me?

The easy answer is no — and let’s face it, that’s the common sense answer, too. Why should manufacturers be held accountable for crimes other people commit with weapons that are sold (supposedly) primarily for self-defense? But there are exceptions to the rule. In fact, there are more exceptions than ever before, and people are actually beginning to take aim at gun manufacturers, even in cases where there are no obvious defects for which to blame them.

It’s not so difficult to understand why the tide is turning against gun manufacturers. Our legislators have turned a blind eye to thousands of victims of gun violence — and tens of thousands of those victims’ family members — with thoughts and prayers but no real action on squeezing those who would do us harm with a few simple new laws (such as universal background checks, mandatory gun training classes, or, egads, even registration!). 

But that’s the world in which we live. We’re willing to throw away our own lives and the lives of our loved ones to savor the “liberty” of an old constitutional amendment that may or may not have been designed as a personal right over a communal one. While that argument continues to rage on even today, we ask our legislators to take action and they don’t. 

But it’s that lack of action against the individual that makes manufacturers — big companies that make quite a lot of money from gun sales — so easy to target. They’re the ones who keep records. We have a lot more information on manufacturers than we do on the people who buy their products. And even though these companies make fewer mistakes and abide by the law much more than the average citizen, we still ask ourselves whether or not it’s okay to sue them for the transgressions of others.

Although the legality of suing gun manufacturers is a murky area right now (and most lawyers won’t go near the industry with a ten-foot pole), it might get cleared up soon if certain Democratic 2020 candidates have their way. A lot of them want to open up manufacturers to civil legal action as a matter of course because, again, it’s the easy way out, and it could actually make a difference. It’s a classic case of the ends justifying the means, depending on your opinion.

Most recently, Connecticut’s court system ruled to allow the lawsuit of a gun manufacturers whose weapons were used in the Sandy Hook atrocity. Many conservative states and gun lobbyists were quick to attack the ruling and attempt to have it overturned.

The argument? That Remington, the gun manufacturer in question, had targeted the sale of their line of guns toward young males who are statistically more likely to commit a mass shooting or base act of violence. It’s a good argument, and whether or not more are made is a question that will be answered in the next few years.

Can you sue a manufacturer if someone uses one of their guns to shoot you? The hard answer is: you can certainly try.

New Study On Long-Term Effects Of Traumatic Brain Injury

A team of researchers recently conducted a study on the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) — but one that was meant to contrast with previous studies done on the topic. Many prior researchers focused on professional football players, boxers, and other athletes who are subject to repeated blows to the head in order to determine the effects of TBI, but few studies are done on the effects of a single event such as a car accident, violent assault, or slip and fall.

The new study looks at the immediate effects during single event TBIs as well as effects when many years have passed. According to the studies, changes in the brain and body can last for a long time.

The paper was published in Science Translational Medicine. The researchers used brain scans taken from victims of single event TBIs — but only those whose accidents were decades old. On average, the scans were taken from victims whose injuries occurred 31 years earlier. The scans showed a phenomenon called “tau,” which is a symptom also seen in those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (phosphorylated tau, specifically).

This form of phosphorylated tau used to be difficult to diagnose from brain scans, which would instead diagnose diseases like dementia or depression instead. Unfortunately those diagnoses only occurred after the patient had died, so they were useless for preventative care, and instead only useful for research.

Dr. Nikos Gorgoraptis, an Imperial College London neurologist who authored the research paper, said, “It is important to be able to detect tau in the brain during a person’s lifetime, as this in the future might lead to timely treatment to slow down dementia in this vulnerable patient population.”

21 subjects of the study were tested for phosphorylated tau, and about two-thirds of the group showed signs of the condition compared to the control group, who showed no signs.

The team wrote, “As predicted, there was considerable variability in the extent of flortaucipir binding across TBI participants. Broadly, a third of TBI participants showed extensive increases in cerebral flortaucipir binding, a third showed more limited increases, and a third showed no abnormality.”

The study continued, “The proportion of individuals with increased flortaucipir binding is much higher than would be expected in the general population in this age group. At the group level, TBI participants showed elevated flortaucipir binding when compared to age- and educated-matched healthy controls.”

The point is this: single event TBI can be almost as damaging to the health of the individual in some cases. If you were subject to a TBI and you believe you are owed compensation for your injuries, contact a personal injury attorney today.

Are Security Cameras An Ethical Way Of Preventing Nursing Home Abuse?

The conversation is just getting started: more and more people are starting to realize that the loved ones who spend their final days in nursing homes are more at risk of nursing home abuse than ever before. This phenomenon describes what happens when someone takes advantage of a patient — financially, physically, or emotionally. Many times the people hurting our loved ones are the caretakers themselves. But what can we do about it?

When one woman’s daughter became concerned that her 75-year-old mother was not being properly cared for, she bought a camera to make sure. But the staff manually pointed it away, making the expensive purchase pointless — until she brought the case to the Minnesota Department of Health, that is, and physically attached the camera to furniture in the room. She lodged a formal complaint with the organization to ensure a decision would be reached.

The Minnesota Department of Health ruled in her favor, barring the nursing home from removing or tampering with the camera. At least seven states have already written legislation to give families the right to watch caretakers do their jobs. According to the laws, it gives family members peace of mind and helps deter nursing home abuse

But many have contended that spying on people while they work is responding to unethical behavior with unethical behavior. Not only that, but it can also be considered spying on the very people whose interests family members are trying to protect. So which side is right?

It’s a complex subject, but there are obvious concerns. One is privacy. It can be asked whether or not a resident of a nursing facility would really want each and every potentially personal conversation recorded. Would they really want the care they receive available for their family members to watch? Caretakers help residents change clothes, wash up, or in some cases use a bedpan. As far as invasion of privacy goes, the addition of cameras to care facilities is a big deal.

One person might say, “No problem. All you have to do is obtain consent!” 

Another person might ask, “How do you obtain consent from a person who has dementia?”

And therein lies the problem. Legally, it might seem like a matter of power of attorney. That means children, relatives, or even their lawyers might have the ultimate say in whether or not a camera can be installed. But there’s another rub: nursing home rooms are usually shared between two or more residents. That means a camera installed to keep an eye on one resident might inadvertently capture intimate footage of another resident who didn’t give consent.

We’re interested in hearing from you! Let us know what you think about this conversation. Should cameras be allowed in nursing homes to prevent elder abuse?

Can I Sue Someone In Texas For A Wrongful Death Claim?

The short answer is yes, of course you can. In fact, you can sue someone for wrongful death even if they live abroad. The only thing to keep in mind is that the rules might be different, and you really need to do a little research before you move forward with your case. Usually that means help from an attorney.

It can become even more complicated than that. For example, a couple of Philadelphia-based law firms recently sued three Philadelphia-based manufacturers for wrongful death on behalf of a class of people who live in London! 247 people sought help from U.S. lawyers after losing 72 loved ones to a fire in London’s Grenfell Tower because the aforementioned Philadelphia manufacturers allegedly sold highly flammable products to the building owners knowing they were dangerous and perhaps even deadly.

Which leads us to the next point: let’s say you have a wrongful death case and you’re interested in the pursuit of justice! Who will represent you? A lawyer from your own state, or a lawyer in the state where the person you want to sue resides? It depends on a few different factors, including where the accident took place and who is better suited to proceeding with the case. First, you’ll want to contact a lawyer who specializes in wrongful death in your own state. Sit down for a free consult and discuss your options.

What happens in reverse?

If you’re on the receiving end of a wrongful death lawsuit, you’ll likely want to find a criminal defense attorney. Where do you find one? Again, if the two parties are conducting business in different states, each will want to discuss the suit with a lawyer in their own state to start. If you live in Houston, Texas, for example, then you might want to find a Houston criminal defense attorney before you decide where to hire.

Part of the reason you’ll want to start with an attorney in your own state is reference. Wrongful death regulations and statutes will differ from state to state, and while lawyers in your own neck of the woods won’t necessarily have all the relevant legal information to help you (or they might), but they can often refer you to a qualified attorney who can.

Rest assured that every state has a set of rules that govern wrongful death cases, and these allow most people to sue for wrongful death on behalf of lost loved ones — including spouses, children, or pregnancies that end because of an accident.

What Should You Do When Suffering From A Dog Bite Incurred At Work?

Dog bite injuries can be very scary, not only because of the initial damage that may have been done, but also because infection can often set in and cause a whole world of hurt beyond what you may have initially expected. When a dog bite unexpectedly occurs, it may have been the result of a pet owner’s irresponsible training regimen, a random occurrence, or a dog mistakenly thinking that someone was making an aggressive move and trying to defend itself or its owner.

Whatever the reason for the bite, it might seem like the situation became even more complicated if it happened while you were on the job — but that isn’t the case. You should react in much the same way as if you were just going about your daily business.

Here’s what you should do!

  1. You have the option of calling the police, but when attacked by an animal it might be more prudent to make an inquiry to animal control. If the animal in question has a pattern of aggressive behavior, this may be the only way to truly prevent a repeat occurrence. Remember: children are more often the victims of aggressive dogs, and their injuries are often more serious.

  2. Write down the contact information of anyone who witnessed the attack.

  3. Write down the contact information of the pet owner. If you cannot find the owner, call the police to let them know about the dog; they will find the owner if possible. In addition to contact information write down insurance information and vaccination information if it’s available.

  4. Photograph your injuries from multiple angles if possible, and do so again after you receive medical attention.

  5. Seek out immediate medical attention. Keep diligent records of bills. Your employer will want this information for the workers’ compensation paperwork. If you file a lawsuit, your lawyer will want the information as well.

  6. Keep a journal to record your thoughts and feelings throughout recovery.

The only thing that really makes a dog bite that occurs on the job different from one that occurs anywhere else is options. When mauled at work or on the job, you would immediately tell your employer what happened. Your employer would go through the usual motions to make sure you get workers compensation. However, you still have the option of suing the dog’s owner, because pet owners have strict liability. Keep in mind, though, that a personal injury case is icing on the cake, and judges are less likely to rule in your favor when they know you’re only out to make a profit.

Either way, you should still consult with a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your options. Why shouldn’t you? Consultations are free!

What is a catastrophic injury?

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you might have the right to sue the at-fault party for compensation to help cover expenses otherwise known as economic damages. Economic damages include things such as medical expenses, lost wages and future earning potential.

However, in certain states, you must have suffered what is known as a “catastrophic injury” in order to sue for non-economic damages. Common non-economic damages include what is commonly referred to as “pain and suffering” and mental anguish.

What is considered catastrophic injury in California?

Under California State code §3796b, a catastrophic injury is defined as an injury that permanently prevents an individual from performing any gainful work. Basically, the injury has to be severe enough that a person’s life, career and family are forever changed. Common catastrophic injuries include:

A catastrophic injury usually leads to a lifelong disability which requires ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitative treatment, ongoing therapy, long-term care planning and sometimes permanent assistance. If the catastrophic injury is severe enough, some victims do not recover from their injury and their friends and family can struggle financially to provide care for their loved ones.

Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

Like with most personal injury cases, the injury has to come from another person’s negligence or recklessness and not be a pre-existing injury. Common causes of injuries through negligence include:

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to economic and non-economic damages. The best course of action is to contact one of our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys for a free consultation regarding your case. Contact us today by calling us or filling out one of the contact forms.

The Worst Reports Of Elder Abuse In The Last Decade

There is a growing epidemic of elder abuse cases across the United States, in part because so few people know about the problem. Personal care workers aren’t always aware that what they’re doing is wrong, but most elder care homes and facilities have video surveillance in order to make sure their employees are properly caring. But what happens when the facility fails to take the right measures? What happens when a family member is the one committing the abuses?

If you suspect your elderly loved one has been abused by a caretaker, then please contact the authorities–and an attorney–right away. Here are a few of the worst reports of elder abuse in the last decade!

  1. The Kingstree Nursing Facility in South Carolina found itself in hot water in 2012 when an elderly patient in its care was discovered by a family member with a broken hip and severe bruising all over her body. According to the patient, she was attacked by two women. This case brought to light the fact that both authorities and the facilities in question were allowed to withhold details stemming from private investigations into elder abuse, a policy that the resident’s son fought tooth and nail to rescind. He wants closure for his mother, who died only a few weeks after the alleged attack.

  2. When Peggy Quesenberry called an ambulance for her mother’s shortness of breath, what authorities found instead was described as a nightmare the likes of which they’d never seen before in the their professional lives. Quesenberry’s mother was covered in urine and fecal matter, and her blanket was fully adhered to her skin. She died weeks later, and Quesenberry was subsequently arrested for elder abuse. Because of the severity of the situation, she faced a psychological evaluation before she was sentenced.

  3. A judge dropped the hammer on the Heartland Nursing Home in Charleston, West Virginia with a $91.5 million verdict after an 87-year-old Alzheimer’s patient succumbed to dehydration and malnutrition. According to authorities, in 19 days at the facility she had barely been provided with any water at all.

  4. The details of the last case are becoming increasingly common among elder care patients, proving our indifference to our own families. Workers have been taking humiliating photos of residents only to post them to social media later. In one case, a worker’s friend posted a picture of a resident’s genitals after a friend sent them to her. The police arrested them both.

The Biggest Personal Injury Cases And Awards

When you receive a settlement for a personal injury claim, the amount awarded is usually dependent on the pain and trauma incurred by the victim. Sometimes the biggest personal injury cases can lead to enormous cash settlements, although the circumstances underriding these awards are as rare as they are. Here are a few of the biggest historical cases that led to gigantic payouts–in some cases for an individual.

  1. When an 8-year-old boy was sexually abused and then set ablaze using gasoline, he miraculously survived. His body was 99 percent covered with burns. Later, he passed away after a bout with skin cancer that was attributed to those injuries. When his family sued the perpetrator, they were awarded a groundbreaking $150 billion. Of course, the defendant couldn’t pay, but the award made a symbolic point that people will never forget.
  2. Cigarette consumers were awarded almost $145 billion after they banded together with a personal injury lawsuit to tackle a number of cigarette manufacturers. These included Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, among others.
  3. R.J. Reynolds was also the target of Betsy Bullock, who sued him after she came down with lung cancer. She was granted a whopping $28 billion which was later slashed after a lengthy appeals process. Bullock won despite her lifelong habit.
  4. GM was forced to pay a family of six who were badly hurt in a car accident when they were struck by a drunk driver. The collision exposed a defect which caused their fuel tank to explode, which landed them a subsequent $4.9 billion settlement. Superior Court Judge Ernest George Williams cut that amount to $1.2 billion on appeal.
  5. When Mark Force was out driving, he was struck by another car head-on. This exposed a seat-belt defect which allowed him to be ejected from the vehicle. Force was granted a $32.5 million verdict, blaming Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp for the accident.
  6. It’s no wonder why people hate public transportation so much! A city transit bus hit Gloria Aguilar in 2005, and in 2009 she was awarded $27.5 million for her injuries, which included an amputated leg.