A 33-year-old woman, went to IKEA on her day off from work looking for a table top she could use as a writing desk. She didn’t find anything in the main part of the store, so she went to the As-Is section, where IKEA displays for sale it is returned and damaged goods of all kinds. There is a no-return policy for items purchased in the As-Is section, so customers must examine the merchandise before purchase.
She walked over to a large open cabinet where some table and countertops were stored on their ends. There was nothing there that she wanted, so she turned to look for the way out of the section. She had not touched anything. Suddenly, several large countertops that had been leaning against the outside of the cabinet, and that weighed in excess of 350 pounds, fell on her crushing the pelvis.
IKEA’s method of displaying countertops that were too large for the cabinet was to lean them against the outside of the cabinet. IKEA claimed this system was safe because there were bungee cords holding the countertops in place. However, no one actually saw the bungee cor4ds after the incident, and one IKEA employee testified at trial that they did not know how strong the cords were and doubted whether they would have kept the large objects from falling.
She suffered fractures of her pelvis in two places and a fracture of the right side of her sacrum. The first surgery she had was to insert a metal stabilizer so her pelvis would grow back together; the second surgery was to remove the metal hardware and screws. There are two large, prominent scars on her lower back. It has been almost three years since her injury, and she is left with pain every day. This one active, joyful woman now moves slowly. She doesn’t go hiking or climbing or bicycling or kayaking anymore.
She had a very good friend on the day she was injured, and they had planned to go hiking the next day, at which time they would have expressed their affection for each other. That conversation didn’t happen for almost one year while she recuperated from her injury. They got married in August 2008. In addition to the pain has every day, she is concerned about getting pregnant and the strain the pregnancy will put on her body, plus how she will be able to care for the baby after it is born.
After three days of testimony, the jury returned a verdict in favour of her in the amount of $3,200,000 after two hours of deliberation.
Read more accidents and law-related articles here.
Motorcycle operator on the shoulder of a highway is killed when he is struck by a driver with cataracts who was returning home after her eyes were dilated by her eye doctor. The case settled for the driver’s insurance policy limits plus personal assets.
A man had stopped his motorcycle off the highway at a wide shoulder where he was well away from the travel portion of the road. There were no obstructions on the highway that would prevent a driver from seeing him. Nevertheless, the defendant drove her car out of the travel lane and onto the shoulder and ran into. He died after two weeks of intensive medical treatment.
The driver of the car, who had cataracts, had just left her eye doctor’s office where her eyes had been dilated.
He had a five-year-old daughter who depended on her father for support. His medical expenses exceeded $155,000.
The driver had only $100,000 in liability insurance coverage on her car. The case settled for her policy limits accidents plus $20,000 from her personal assets. It was his daughter was the wrongful death beneficiary of her father’s estate.
A “wrongful death” occurs when a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another individual, company or entity. An action for wrongful death belongs to the decedent’s immediate family members (“beneficiaries”).
Awarded: Settlement $100,000 insurance and $20,000 personal assets
A man that was a 65-year-old passenger in a Red Top taxi cab which was struck by a Metro bus in Arlington, resulting in moderate property damage to the taxi. Plaintiff suffered a detached retina in his left eye, as well as a herniated disc at C5-C6 and L5-S1. A vitrectomy surgery was performed on his eye and ultimately. It developed a cataract in his eye as a result of the surgery.
No future surgery was recommended on the herniated discs. The bus company’s orthopedic doctor claimed that there was no herniations present and that plaintiff suffered longstanding degenerative disc disease in both his cervical and lumbar spine. The bus company’s ophthalmologist claimed that he suffered from pre-existing lattice degeneration in his eye which predisposed him to injury.
He had medical expenses of $19,000 and his doctors predicted that he would have future medical expenses of $4,500. The bus company offered $30,000 before trial. The jury’s verdict was $495,300.
If you go to the Yellow Pages, and even to lawyer sites on the Web, you might think that all personal injury lawyers are the same. After all, their ads and Web sites certainly look a lot alike, and many say the same thing: free consultation, we work hard for you, etc.
So, how do you find the personal injury lawyer who is right for you and your case? Often, when people move to a new city, one of the first things they do is find a new doctor and a new dentist for their family. However, they don’t usually go out to find a new personal injury lawyer — they don’t need one.
You probably didn’t ask that question before you were injured in an accident. After all, it’s not like you got up in the morning knowing you were going to be injured and need a personal injury lawyer to help you. After all, people don’t need a personal injury lawyer until after they have been hurt by someone else.
Finding the lawyer who is right for you and your case is very important. You and your lawyer will be working together for many months, and you should have someone who “fits” you. Here are some ideas to help you successfully find the right attorney for you.
Think about what you want in the lawyer who you will hire to help you with this problem.Do you want someone who is in a particular geographical area so you won’t need to drive very far to meet her at the office? Do you want someone who drives a fancy car? Is it necessary to you that your lawyer shares a specific religious philosophy with you? Do you care if the lawyer is male or female? Does it matter to you whether your first meeting will be with the lawyer who is going to handle your case? Do you want a lawyer with lots of cases because that must mean the lawyer knows what she’s doing?
What kind of person can you work with best? Do you want someone sympathetic and empathetic who is also forceful and optimistic? Or, must your perfect lawyer be organized and available? Is it most important to you that your lawyer update you often?
Decide ahead of time what kind of lawyer you want to work with.
There are hundreds of competent personal injury lawyers in Virginia, so you have many to choose from. Be prepared to find the one who’s best for you.
Ask someone you know and trust for a referral. If a family member or trusted friend has had experience with a personal injury attorney, they will probably be happy to tell you about that experience — good or bad. If you were injured in an accident with an18-wheeler truck, ask your family member or the trusted friend if the personal injury lawyer they had handles that kind of case.
This is an excellent way to start your search. If no one in your family or circle of close friends has a referral for you, ask your hairdresser/barber or people in your religious community or children’s school or even at the grocery store. Even if you don’t know these people very well, if they have someone to tell you about, that’s a better start than just a random call to someone whose ad you see on TV or in the Yellow Pages without any personal reference at all.
Call the lawyer’s office and talk to the person who answers the phone.See if you are comfortable with the answers to your questions and the way the office is set up to respond to people who call with a problem. If you don’t like what you hear and how you are treated on the first call, you probably won’t like it any better over time.
Ask the lawyer about her experience handling cases like yours.You want someone who mainly represents people who have been injured by someone else who was at fault. Did your family member die from the injuries? (This is called a wrongful death case.) Were you seriously hurt by falling merchandise in a store? Did you fall because of a defect in the premises? Did a doctor make a severe error during surgery? Was your child injured on the playground? Just like you wouldn’t go to an orthopedist for colon surgery, you need a lawyer with expertise in handling personal injury cases.
Also, some lawyers who advertise for injury cases don’t go to court; they settle all their claims. A good trial lawyer does solve cases. But, if the insurance company will not make a fair offer, a good trial lawyer will take your case to trial. Insurance companies know who is afraid to try a case and who is not. Be sure to find out if the lawyer you are talking to tries claims in court.
WHAT THE RIGHT LAWYER WILL DO FOR YOU
If you or a family member has been injured and someone else is at fault, you have many things to be taken care of —most importantly, healing your injuries.
You have many questions about the future: “How will the bills get paid? What will happen if I’m out of work and can’t pay my bills? What if I need more treatment in the years to come? How will I get around now that I have this permanent injury?” This is a scary and frustrating time.
When you hire the right personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer to represent you in your injury case, she will answer these questions and take many burdens off your shoulders. Your injury attorney should provide you valuable service such as these:
The lawyer’s office will do a thorough investigation of the events that led to the injury. Witnesses will be contacted and interviewed. If the incident is a truck accident or car accident, she and her staff will go to the scene to find out exactly what happened. Photographs will be taken of the scene, the vehicles, and the injuries. If the incident is a medical malpractice case, the lawyer will find an expert in the same field to explain what the doctor or hospital did wrong and testify on your behalf.
The lawyer and the staff will take over the job of talking to the insurance companies for you. Insurance companies often call the injured person or his family and ask detailed questions about what happened. Sometimes, they call many times. These calls not only interrupt your life, but they also cause you worry and stress. Insurance companies know correctly what to do and how to do it because they do it all the time. You don’t know how to deal with them and their requests for information. An injury lawyer will do this for you. Once you hire a lawyer, insurance companies are not allowed to speak to you again.
The lawyer’s staff is trained to gather all the medical records that will prove the extent of the injury. Injury lawyers are accustomed to dealing with doctors and hospitals to get the medical evidence necessary to show the harm.
The lawyer will bring the case to a conclusion. Once you are finished treating for your injuries or the doctor can establish what your future condition will be, the lawyer will begin negotiating with the insurance company to try to get your case resolved without having to file a lawsuit. However, if the case cannot be settled, the lawyer will file the lawsuit in court. A claim that is presented in court will take many more months to get concluded, but an injury or medical malpractice lawyer who goes to court and tries circumstances can give you the best advice about how to handle your particular situation.
And, all along the way, if s/he is the right lawyer for you, s/he will keep you informed of what is going on in your case. Sometimes, there won’t be much happening. Other times, the lawyer and his/her staff will be very busy on your case, getting it ready for the next step.
Recovering from an injury caused by someone else is never pleasant. But, when you have the lawyer who is right for you working for you, the whole process will be more tolerable.
From the time we are born, our body is trying to figure out every which way it can to get us to move. Babies delight grownups when they first get all their muscles to move in the right way so they can roll over and then when they can crawl and then walk. Just like all creatures, we are made to be mobile.
But, people who are injured while they are walking have a very hard, almost impossible, task of winning a personal injury case. For instance, if you are walking along and fall into a hole or are tripped up by a defect in the sidewalk or trip over a piece of merchandise that has been left in the aisle of a store or slip on liquid soap that has dripped on the floor, you must be almost perfect in your own behavior, even if the business created the hazard that caused the fall.
Let me tell you about a case we recently handled.
We represented a very nice woman who was severely injured (broken ankle) when she tripped over a defect in the sidewalk that surrounded the service station where she had taken her vehicle to be inspected. We took the case, in spite of the legal hurdles we faced because we liked her and believed she had nothing wrong. She had been told by an employee of the service station to walk to the back of the station along the sidewalk where she fell. As she was walking in the back of the station, she saw orange markings on the edge of the sidewalk and interpreted them as some sort of warning. So, she made sure to keep away from the edge. What she could not see, however, was that there was a >1″ drop off where she was walking. Her foot dropped off the end of the sidewalk and she fell. The business owner had created the hazard (basically, it was a cut out of the sidewalk where a ramp was built so cars could be driven across the sidewalk into the service bay), knew it could cause falls (there were orange cones that usually were in place to warn people of the drop off – they weren’t in place the day our client fell), and she had been told to go to the back of the station along that sidewalk (i.e., she was not on the sidewalk without permission).
We settled her case before we had to prepare for a trial. Unfortunately, the amount of the settlement did not reflect the seriousness of her injury. It did, however, reflect the nature of the law.
You see, almost everyone walks. We are taught as young children that we must watch where we are walking. Practically everyone has tripped over something in their lives. When contributory negligence rears its ugly head and jurors are told that the plaintiff cannot have contributed to her injury in any way, regardless of how careless the business owner is, injured plaintiffs are not treated fairly by the law.
If you have been injured in a “slip and fall” or “pedestrian knock down” case, call us.
Pedestrian crossing the street a few feet outside the crosswalk after dark was hit by an oncoming car. The driver claimed he did not see him, although he was under a street light. The issue was whether the pedestrian had lost the right of way because he was outside of the crosswalk. The insurance company first said the incident was our client’s fault because he was not in the crosswalk; however, the case settled for $45,000 when it became obvious that our client’s being a few feet away from the painted markings on the street did not contribute to his injuries.
He was walking across a suburban street going from the grocery store to his apartment one evening after doing his shopping. He was not in the crosswalk, but he was a few feet away from it. The defendant did not see him even though he was walking under a street light. His injuries included…
The driver’s insurance company claimed the incident was his fault because he was not in the painted crosswalk. (If the injured person is even a tiny bit responsible for his own injury, he loses. This is called contributory negligence and is a total bar to an injured person’s recovery.)
However, it soon became apparent that it was the driver’s fault because he had been distracted . . . and would have hit him even if he had been in the crosswalk. That is, he is outside of the crosswalk was not a cause of the incident.
His medical expenses were $25,000. The case settled for $45,000.
President of the United States of America, do hereby designate, May 1 as Law Day – USA. I urge the people of the United States to observe the designated day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and I especially urge the legal profession, the press, and the radio, television and motion picture industries to promote and to participate in the observance of that date.
The world knows of our leadership in material things, and of the high standard of living which our system has produced for our people. The thing we want people of the whole world to know is that in our country we are more proud of our moral principles as expressed in the concept of our government of laws that we are of any materialistic accomplishment or achievement of our people. It is the purpose of “Law Day-U.S.A.” to highlight this basic fact– thereby throwing a spotlight upon the rule of law in America-expressing to the people of the world our admiration and respect for the rule of law as the key to individual freedom and justice.
On Law Day, May 1, the law firm of us hosts its Annual Law Day fundraiser. The Foundation does many civic activities, including numerous outreach programs in the public schools, providing pro bono legal services for those who can not afford legal representation, and funding the public law library.
The featured highlight of the event is the reading of the Law Day Proclamation. The party is outdoors and very casual. It’s a Roast, as all we serve is a variety of different Hot Dogs. No burgers … no chicken… We try to give it that “old time” feel by serving old fashion root beer floats, popcorn, cotton candy, and roasted peanuts.
The live musical entertainment is truly noteworthy. We have a Jazz ensemble, Barbershop quartet and a Bagpipe player. We also feature a Shoe Shine company that sets up booths to give free shines. The police send a 12-foot inflatable police officer, to walk through the crowd. Team mascots from the Nationals and the Capitals have made appearances as well.
Years ago, when the “Baby on Board” signs started appearing in car windows, I wondered what in the world such a sign was good for. Although I still have the same unanswered question, I do think often about the smallest passengers in motor vehicles – our children.
Now is the time of year when more and more cars and trucks will be on the roads and highways – spring is here and families get out and about. And, more and more children are out and about riding bikes and playing in their yards with other children.
Days are longer and children are outside later. I remember the joys of going outside to play after dinner and playing until well after dark. I didn’t even think about the fact that I could be almost invisible to a passing car.
Unfortunately, now is the time of year when more and more children will be severely injured or, worse, killed in motor vehicle accidents. Young children simply do not think of the dangers around them, and many drivers do not think about the dangers of running, biking and playing children around them.
Injuries to children from car accidents can be very severe. Parents, watch your children closely. Driver, use extra caution. Children’s actions are unpredictable. Don’t relax just because children are playing in a ‘safe’ neighbourhood. No child is safe near the street when there are cars nearby.
Drivers have an increased responsibility to be careful with children, and children have the right to be free from careless drivers and to be compensated if a careless driver injures them. If your child has been injured in a car accident, the lawyers can help you.
There are millions of students who get on big yellow school buses every day across the country to get to and from school. These children range in age from four to 18 years old. They are assigned seats and told to sit down – some do, some don’t – and, for the most part, they are belted into their seats. Older buses, that are still used in many areas, have plenty of metal surfaces that can hurt children in a crash.
Although school buses are among the larger vehicles on the road, the fact is that children are not restrained and, even in minor collisions, they can be tossed around inside the large, yellow metal box we call a school bus.
School bus accidents can cause many types of injuries to children, including:
• Head trauma, including brain injury or concussion
• Broken bones
• Spinal injuries
• Permanent scarring
• Emotional distress, including fear and anxiety
School bus accidents have many causes. Sometimes, it’s an inexperienced young person driving the family’s SUV as recently happened who ran into a school bus taking young children to a summer program. Sometimes, it the school bus driver; sometimes, it’s the dangerous system used by the school to load and unload students.
Here are some possible causes of school bus accidents:
• A tired or sleepy school bus driver who has driven too many hours without rest
• A school bus driver is aggressive and careless when driving
• A school bus driver who did not get proper training
• A bus that has too many children riding on it
• School bus driver driving under the influence
• A school bus driver using a cell phone
• A school bus driver texting while driving
• A school bus driver not adjusting for poor weather conditions
• Poorly maintained school bus parts
• Broken safety systems on the bus
School buses carry our most precious cargo – our children. You cannot be everywhere with your children, but you can take a few basic steps to help look out for their safety.
• Be sure your child’s bus stop is safe. Is it far enough away from traffic?
• Be sure your child has a safe way to walk to the school bus stop. If not, contact the school and get it changed.
• Teach your child about proper behaviour on a school bus. Children who are jumping around are at greater risk for injury when an accident happens.
• Get to know your child’s bus driver and make sure he knows your child and, especially, where your child is supposed to be picked up and dropped off.
• Pay attention to how the bus driver behaves. Contact the school immediately if you notice any inappropriate behaviour.
• Get to know the parents of other students on the bus. Make sure you all have plenty of information about what’s happening on the bus.
Riding a school bus can be an enjoyable, important part of a child’s school experience. However, if your child is injured in a school bus accident, you may want to speak to a lawyer about who was responsible for the accident and your child’s injuries. Our lawyers have helped many families of injured children.
Times are tough, and lots of folks are in financial trouble and having problems paying their debts. Debt collectors start calling and keep on calling and calling.
Be careful. Before you agree to pay one of those debt collectors, read this valuable information.
You must be sure you are paying the collector who has a right to be repaid.
Representing people who have been sued by debt collectors is not something we do. However, we try to help people who need legal assistance. Need to talk to a lawyer about a debt collection problem, give us a call or contact us.