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.

Does Defamation Constitute A Personal Injury?

You know that old saying “stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? Well, that’s not quite true and we all know it. Words can have an impact that far exceeds any physical damage a person can suffer, especially if you and your company are worth millions. What is defamation, and is it considered a part of personal injury? You might be delighted to know that, yes, defamation is a part of personal injury law.

Defamation (or slander) occurs when a person knowingly or unknowingly uses a written or verbal statement in order to damage someone’s reputation. What happens when defamation turns into bullying? If the other party causes you significant emotional or psychological distress, then you’ve suffered a personal injury and have the right to sue for damages.

If you own or co-own any stake in a company and that company’s ability to earn is damaged by someone who defamed you, then you have suffered a “personal injury” in the form of monetary loss, and you have the right to sue based on that.

Although not always, sometimes you must prove that the defamation was false. Either way, damage can be done to your character, and you shouldn’t ignore it.

It is important to seek appropriate legal counsel as soon as possible for cases such as these because defamation is difficult to prove. The faster you begin to document what happened and collect information relevant to your case, the better your chances of success. The reason it can sometimes be difficult to beat the assailant in court is because the Constitution protects free speech. If you have a journal documenting the distress you’re in now that the attack has occurred, then you can win.

If your business or personal life has suffered due to someone defaming you, then don’t hesitate to contact or call our personal injury attorney. We will launch an investigation and get you the compensation you deserve.

Why Negligent Security Is Not A Laughing Matter

Something is a common trope in American films is the lackadaisical security guard. The security guard is at his desk, fast asleep and the bad guys sneak passed moving very slowly as to not wake him up. Sometimes the security guard is watching TV and is distracted missing the obvious bad guy outside of the door. As humorous as this might be, this happens in the real world too, not just in film and television.

When a criminal makes his way past the security and commits a crime and that crime injures someone, there are severe consquences not only for the criminal but for whoever is in charge of keeping visitors safe. When a victim suffers injuries that result from crimes such as robbery, assault, sexual assault and battery they might have the right to file an additional personal injury lawsuit against the security guard or whoever is responsible for their safety as well as bring a civil lawsuit against the person who committed the crime.

Negligent Security cases are a form of premise liability. Plaintiff’s need to prove that the property owner failed to provide adequate security which led to a crime which led to their injuries. Failure to do security patrols, non-functioning lighting, broken fences, and hotel/motel locks not working are all circumstances that could and should have been avoided, therefore making the landowner partially responsible for their injuries.

These crimes can happen in several locations but mostly occur in parking lots, apartment complexes, hotels, bars, shopping plazas, and business complexes. These types of cases are often difficult to litigate, however, our personal injury lawyers have experience handling these types of cases and getting compensation for our clients’ injuries sustained through a crime. For more information contact our personal injury attorneys.

What To Do If You Slip and Fall On The Job

Slip and fall accidents do happen. We hate when they do, and we may try to keep them from happening, but inevitably one will happen.

Construction sites are common places for slip and fall accidents, as are food-service businesses. Whether you are working at heights or you are around slick liquids like grease or oil, there will likely be a risk of a slip and fall accident, despite some of our best efforts. That, of course, does not mean we should not put every precaution in place. After all, a serious slip and fall accident can lead to litigation that is time and capital-consuming – which then, of course, impacts the bottom line.

In a litigious world such as ours, it is always important to take all necessary and prudent precautions to prevent these types of accidents. On the other hand, if you are someone who has, or could have, suffered a slip and fall injury, you have to be vigilant in making your case. You almost have to treat such an incident like you would a car accident. Here are five things you should do when you are in a slip and fall incident:

  1. Check yourself.

First thing’s first. Before you start talking or thinking about how much to sue for, you need to make sure you get yourself checked out medically to ensure the extent of your injuries. Oftentimes, we may not feel very hurt at first, but some significant injuries don’t’ manifest themselves until later. Always best to get a medical opinion first.

  1. Inform.

At this point, it is a good time to let the owner of the property know (and any supervisors on shift at the time) about the accident. Be careful not to be angry or vindictive about it, trying to lay blame. Just provide as much information as you can in a very impersonal way – the who, what, when, where, why and how.

  1. Curate.

Document as much as you can, including the name(s) of those you directly informed about the incident. Take pictures of the incident scene and record any interviews or conversations when you can so you have documentation. If you have witnesses to the incident, get statements from them as to what they saw and heard.

  1. Speak little.

Stick only to the facts of the incident when discussing it with anyone –even an attorney, when you hire one. Leave emotion, speculation and blame out of the equation. And do not discuss the issue with anyone not directly or indirectly involved with the case – which means, social-media silence, for sure.

  1. Lawyer up.

Find a competent accident or personal injury lawyer to represent you and stand up for your rights. Once you find a lawyer, say nothing more about the case and let your lawyer speak for you. Don’t’ risk legal jeopardy more than necessary.

California Wildfires – What Can You Do

In December 2017, 29 wildfires broke out in Southern California. But only 6 out of the 29 were responsible for the damage and personal injuries that were caused. In total, there were 230,000 evacuated and 184 destroyed homes. These wildfires also destroyed so much of the land that it is responsible for the mudslides that occurred in early January 2018 as well. The mudslides alone led to 21 deaths, 28 injuries, and destroyed 129 homes and 307 other properties.

The exact cause of the Southern California Wildfires has not be pinpointed but it is believed that it was a combination of electrical equipment failure and Santa Anna winds. There have been several cases brought against Southern California Edison (SoCal Edison) as it is believed that their power lines might have played a part in the starting of the wildfires. In fact, the city of Ventura has filed a lawsuit against SoCal Edison, however, the case was dismissed because they are co-defendants on other Thomas Fire cases. 

California has something called the inverse condemnation law which states that if your property damage was caused by the wildfires then you are entitled to compensation from SoCal Edison whether it is determined if they are negligent or not. It is a bit more tricky with personal injury. In order to successfully file a lawsuit for personal injury, the fire department has to prove that SoCal was indeed negligent and that their negligence was responsible directly for your injuries. This differs from those who suffered from the Northern California fires as it has been proven that PG&E was negligent.

Contact Our California Wildfire Attorneys

If you have been impacted by the file, then it is in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney who is knowledgeable in burn injuries as well as wildfire negligence. Contact us for a FREE consultation

Los Angeles Superior Court Will Hear All Testimony Regarding Usher/Herpes Case

R&B singer Usher is facing trial against three plaintiffs who accuse him of infecting them with the herpes virus. The plaintiff’s complaint alleges of sexual battery, fraud, negligence and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress as they claim the singer did not alert them that he was infected before they engaged in sexual acts with him.

A judge ruled earlier this week that the case will indeed take place in a Los Angeles Superior Court despite one of the plaintiff’s petitioning to have the case moved to their home state. But since the defendant Usher Raymond IV lives in California (as well as the other two plaintiffs), Judge Michelle Williams ruled that it will be tried in California.

The three plaintiffs include Quantasia Sharpton, a Jane Doe and a John Doe. A judge granted the motion to conceal the identity of the other plaintiff’s for protection. Jane Doe who lives in Georgia said through her lawyer Jivaka Candappa, that she will be deposed by Usher’s lawyer and that other witnesses in her state will be able to make the trip.

The judge also denied the right to have a separate trial in Georgia as it would be prejudicial to Usher to do so and would have consequences on the outcome of the Los Angeles trial.

However, it is believed the Jane Doe in question is Laura Helm. She had originally filed a $20 million lawsuit on her own but decided to join forces with Quantasia and John Doe asking for her original lawsuit to be dismissed. Laura revealed herself and accused Usher of delaying the case.

Quantasia did not contact Herpes. The status of John Doe is unknown at this time and Laura did contact Herpes allegedly through her encounters with Usher. The plaintiffs are being represented by Lisa Bloom, the attorney representing Weinstein against his sexual cases.

Who is Liable When a Cyclist gets “Doored”?

We’ve all seen the gifs, memes, and videos of someone riding their bike and minding their business when WHAM! a car door opens and sends the cyclist tumbling over the top. This event is often referred to as being “doored” or “car-dooring”. While it some might get a laugh out of this event, the cyclist can be seriously injured. If you have been doored and suffered an injury as a result, you are probably wondering who’s liable for your medical expenses and other damages.

Who’s At-Fault?

In this scenario, the driver is almost always at fault. Most states, including California, place the responsibility on the driver to make sure that it is safe to open their door before doing so. However, if there is no traffic at the time of the incident, the motorist can claim that there were time and space for the cyclist to swerve and avoid the door. If the motorist claims that the cyclist could have avoided the accident, the cyclist will not be found at-fault, but they may be found partially responsible.

According to bike accident data, you might be safer getting doored that avoiding the door altogether. The data shows that “80.04% of those cyclists who were doored were injured, while 90.40% of those in non-dooring crashes were injured.” That’s not all. Swerving to avoid the door is more likely to cause a severe injury than crashing into the door itself. This is because when cyclists swerve, they’re likely turning into oncoming traffic without checking for vehicles.

How do I Avoid Getting “Doored”?

One way to avoid getting doored is to ride cautiously and keep your head on a swivel. If you ride your bike through the city, you know that it can be chaotic. There are cars flying by you on one side and pedestrians walking and getting out of their cars on the other. It can be nerve-racking if you’re not used to it. Take it slow and pay attention to your surroundings.

Another way to avoid getting doored is to ride your bike outside of the door zone. What is the door zone you ask? Well, the door zone is best described as the area the from the car to the edge of the door when it is opened. This can be hard to avoid as major cities have added bike lanes to streets. Unfortunately, these bike lanes are in the door zone.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you have been in a bicycle accident and are injured as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.

What To Do If Your E-Cigarette Explodes

While electronic cigarettes are better for you than their counterpart, there is still an inherent risk. Due to their lithium-ion batteries, these e-cigarette’s tend to overheat causing a chain reaction which leads to an explosion.

If you are using your e-cig properly and you experience an explosion, there are several steps you need to follow in order to make sure that you can properly claim a personal injury lawsuit.

The first step as with most injury cases is to seek medical treatment. Common injuries include burns to the thighs, hands, and genitalia. Many burn victims from e-cigarettes require hospitalization and in a few cases surgery.

The second step is to make sure you save the electronic cigarette. This is very important. This will help us determine if the explosion happened due to a manufacturer error. If you do not save the electronic device, we will not be able to prove that the manufacturer is responsible for your injuries (rather than just user error).

The third step is to take pictures of the product and your injuries. Also get any reports from health care professionals about your injury. Once you have all this information you can then approach a skilled product liability attorney about filing a personal injury lawsuit.

If successful you could be compensated for your medical injuries as well as pain and suffering. Contact one of our product liability attorneys.

 

Which Dogs Bite the Most?

Why do Dogs Bite?

Dog BitesDogs have been considered man’s best friend for a long, long time. Not only do dogs make great pets, but they have many other uses. Some dogs are bred to herd sheep or cattle, others are bred to pull sleds in the fields, others are bred to hunt, and some are bred for human companionship. Regardless of the size of the dog or how intimate your relationship is with the dog, it is important to remember that dogs, although domesticated, are still animals. Just as you react to the feeling of excitement, fear, nervousness, or feeling threatened, they do too.   

Naturally, dogs bite when they feel threatened or harmed in some way. Their teeth are their only line of defense; so it makes sense that their first instinct is to use them. Dogs may also bite when they are overly excited. For example, if you are roughhousing with your pet and he/she nips you, they are playing. Unfortunately, human skin is not made to withstand “play biting” so the result for us is a cut or bruise. In order to avoid this, you can teach the dog that they are being too aggressive or avoid roughhousing with your pup.

Dog Bite Statistics

In 2016, there were about 78 million dogs registered in the United States. According to the CDC, this led to 4.5 million dog bites, out of which came 41 fatalities. The chance of dying from a dog bite is 1 in 112,400; that’s better odds than cancer, flying on an airplane, a gunshot, and the fatal stinging of hornets, wasps, or bees. 81% of dog bites either do not cause an injury or cause a minor injury, like a scrape or a bruise.

Which Dog Bites the Most?

Whether your dog is big or small, they may have made this list. If the breed yo own is on this list, it does not mean that they are prone to hurting someone. Just like people, dogs have a personality. There are certain actions that will trigger any animal. If you avoid putting your dog in harm’s way and train the animal properly, you should never have a problem. Below are a few of the dogs that may be at higher risk of biting an individual.

  • Chihuahua
  • Bulldog
  • Pit Bull
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Lhasa Apso

Some of these dogs may surprise you. You may laugh at the Chihuahua or Lhasa Apso making the list, but it is more common that these dogs will bite you than other breeds larger breeds.

Which Dog Bites the Hardest?

The strength of the bite does not always correlate with the size of the dog. Thanks to the Canine Journal, we were able to put together a list of dogs with the hardest bite. Some of the results may shock you. The metric used to determine the hardest bite is pounds per square inch.

  • Kangal: 743 PSI
  • English Mastiff: 556 PSI
  • Wolfdog: 406 PSI
  • Rottweiler: 328 PSI
  • African Wild Dog: 317 PSI

Further down the list, some of the hard biters worthy of a mention are the American Bulldog (305 PSI), the Doberman (245 PSI), the German Shepherd (238 PSI) and the American Pitbull (235 PSI).  

At the end of the day, dogs are animals. If they feel threatened or scared, they are more likely to revert back to their natural instincts. It is important that you treat dogs with respect and if you are a dog owner, that you train the dog and teach them right from wrong.

One way to protect yourself in the event that your dog bites someone is to purchase Pet Liability Insurance. In the event that you are sued, your insurance comapny will pay the damages and you will not be personally liable.

If you are the victim of a dog bite, contact an experienced dog bite attorney, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

What To Do If You Are The Driver In A Ride Sharing Accident

uber appTwo of the fastest growing companies in the tech industry over the past few years have been Uber and Lyft. Uber and Lyft hire drivers as independent contractors and provide the service for them to find work.

How does this work? The Uber and Lyft app let the consumer share their location with the network of drivers, the first driver to claim the ride request gets to pick up that passenger. This has provided millions of individuals with part-time jobs that function as a freelance opportunity. In other words, they can work whenever they have time. Some contractors have even gone as far as making this their full-time position; in some cases bringing in over $100,000 per year.

Even though you are not driving, you are still at risk of injury if you are involved in a car accident. The laws on ridesharing are broken down into three individual periods if you are the driver. If you are the passenger you will also have your own set of rules. As with any accident, someone will be at fault and be held liable for any damages that happen to the individuals involved in the accident.

The Three Periods

Period 1: When the Uber/Lyft app is on and the driver is waiting for a request

When the app is on and the driver is waiting for a request, Uber can NOT be held liable for any accident you are involved in. The reason for this is that drivers are independent contractors. In other words, they are not technically an employee of Uber at this juncture.

There are a couple of reasons Uber set the company up like this. For one, this provides a bevy of liability benefits to Uber. One of those benefits is that you do not become an employee of Uber until you have answered a pickup request. While Uber does not provide accident coverage during this period, Uber does provide liability coverage.

Period 2: When the driver is en route to the passenger

When you have accepted a pickup request, Uber’s insurance technically begins to cover you. Although, this is a gray area, so I will take you through some specifics.

Usually, after an accident, the driver will not be able to pick up a passenger. This will require the driver to cancel the trip. However, when it comes time to claim liability, Uber is not aware of when the accident happened and they are not aware if the passenger canceled the request and not the driver. This means, even if you were on your way to pick up a passenger, Uber can fight the claim stating that you were actually looking for a passenger, which would allow them to follow the rules in period one.

Claiming liability in during period two will need the most evidence that you were on your way to pick up a passenger. One thing you can quickly do is take a screenshot of the date and time. This will show that you were in fact on your way to pick up a passenger at the time of the accident.

Period 3: After you make the pickup

During this period, Uber’s liability will cover you Since there is a passenger in the car, it will be easy for any lawyer to prove that you were “on the clock” at the time of the accident.

Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney

Anytime you are in a car accident and the result is an injury to you or the other party, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney. Los Angeles Personal Injury Law has a team of attorneys that are experienced in ridesharing cases. Our attorneys know the ins and outs of the laws and will fight for Uber/Lyft to assume liability. Contact our office today if you have been in a ridesharing accident and suffered an injury.