Articles Posted in Lawsuit Funding Thought of the Day

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Ten workers were killed aboard the Deepwater Horizon when the rig exploded; many leave widows and children to fend for themselves in the aftermath of the disaster. But, one very little known restriction in current law related to compensation in these cases will place serious limitations on what these families can recover. The applicable law is known as the Death on the High Seas Act , or DOHSA

If DOHSA is not amended by Congress, the families of those killed or injured, residents of the Gulf region, and we, the taxpayers, will be left with the medical bills and support bills and clean up bills. In essence, it will be up to us to clean up BP’s mess. DOHSA is, actually, one of several laws that cap BP’s (and other oil companies in similar situations) liability for damages. There is the woefully low $75 million cap contained within OPA (Oil Pollution Act) which governs compensation to victims for economic damages and the clean-up, and LOLA (Limitation of Liability Act), a 159-year-old law that seriously limits liability to artificially low numbers.

In the BP disaster, DOHSA creates full immunity to BP; the company is not required to compensate the families of those killed because the law compensates for economic injury, not loss of a loved one; BP’s liability is limited to economic damages only, medical cost for the injured and burial costs and the loss of financial support for the deceased victim’s families. In essence, this cruel law devalues human life and human suffering.

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Would it surprise you to know that there are over 500,000 truck accidents on US highways every year? How about that those accidents result in at least 5,000 fatalities?

Why so many truck accidents? Most result from a variety of factors, driver fatigue, alcohol and drugs, speed, failing to signal intentions, distracted driving, improper loading, weather conditions, equipment failure are leading causes. Often, it is the vehicle that came in contact with the truck that causes the accident. Automobile drivers, not truckers, may be guilty of many of the causes listed above.

When a passenger vehicle comes in contact with a large truck, the outcome is rarely pretty. Survivors of such a crash will often have catastrophic injuries; many will lose their lives. If you have survived a collision with a big truck, or, if you are a survivor of someone who was killed in an accident, it is a good idea to find out what your rights are in your state or city. Lawsuit Financial advises that you seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney who specializes in trucking accident litigation. The Lawsuit Financial Attorney Referral Program will assist you in locating an expert attorney where you live or where the accident occurred. This is, in our humble opinion, the only way to get the level of compensation you deserve. Insurance companies are not our friends, despite their catchy slogans. They are not “good neighbors”, they will not give you “fast, fair, and friendly service”, you are never “in good hands”. Insurance companies will make it their mission and do everything in their power (and they have a lot of power) to delay justice and to reduce or deny your claim. The great equalizer is an experienced attorney.

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What do you think of when you think “train wreck”? A train-car collision? A derailment? An on-track equipment failure? The truth is that any of the above can result in a train accident. The most common cause? You guessed it: A train colliding with another vehicle.

Unfortunately, approximately 900 people die, each year, in train wrecks; hundreds more are seriously injured. Train accidents are still a major source of personal injury and death. Railroad companies are responsible for passenger safety; they must also follow certain guidelines and time lines for reporting accidents.

People who have been involved in train accidents, if they survive, will tell you how frightening an experience it is. And, if they survive, they are, most likely, dealing with devastating injuries. If you have been badly injured in a train crash, you might want to talk to a personal injury attorney; an experienced FELA attorney will outline your legal rights and what options are available to you.

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This case arose from a pre-arranged fight between teenage groups. Around 100 teens gathered in a parking lot to watch. Police arrived to name calling and yelling; no blows had been exchanged. Things appeared to be under control.

Then, someone three a cigarette lighter at one teen’s mini-van. The youth turned the van around, peeled rubber, and drove straight into the crowd, striking and dragging three teenage girls and one teenage boy before speeding away. He was later apprehended and is being held, without bail, on four counts of attempted murder.

The girls suffered traumatic head injuries, internal injuries, and broken bones; one girl has a broken leg and pelvis. All have been released from the hospital, but they will have a long road to recovery. The boy received only minor injuries.

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Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you are aware of the sex abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic Church. If hierarchy spent as much time supervising and managing its priests as it does covering up their despicable activities and defending lawsuits filed as the result, they would decrease incidents of this behavior.

A less well known “scandal” involves USA Swimming, which has been under investigation recently for its handling of alleged sexual abuse cases. A lawsuit was recently filed in Santa Clara, CA alleging that more than 30 coaches nationwide have engaged in sexual misconduct with teen girls. Last month, USA Swimming, a 1972 Olympic swimmer disclosed she was molested by her coach in the 1960s. A recent ABC News “20/20” investigation revealed that 36 coaches have been banned from USA Swimming due to alleged sexual misconduct.

The latest claim has been made against a swim coach. A lawsuit has been filed accusing the coach of “grooming a, then, 17 year old teen for a sexual relationship, with providing her alcohol, and, ultimately, with having inappropriate sexual contact with her.” At the time, he was coaching at the Kansas City Dolphins Swim Club in Blue Springs, MO. The sexual abuse allegedly took place between the summer 2006 and fall 2007. After learning about the misconduct in May 2008, the teen’s parents filed a formal complaint with a supervisor, demanding that the coach be barred from coaching. The supervisor fired the coach in April and he moved out of town. The victim’s family was also told that this coach would not coach again, but when the supervisor who fired him became head coach at a Virginia swim club, he hired the same offending coach as his assistant!

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Injuries sustained as a result of burns are painful and very difficult to deal with medically speaking. Many kinds of burns will require surgery and skin grafts over a period of years to replace damaged tissues. A skin graft does not grow, so if the burn accident victim was young, they would need more surgery later in life.

Those who have been in a house fire or chemical explosion, automobile accident, bus accident, or motorcycle accident may have been burned as the result of the crash. The extent of their damages is usually determined by how severe their burn happens to be. There are two classifications when referring to burns – the degree and method. The degrees range from first to third (the most severe) and the method refers to the source of the burn. An example would be chemical, electrical, radiation and toxic substances (such as gasoline).

A ‘bad’ burn may mean blood vessels, nerves, bones and even muscles are affected. A person’s respiratory system may be singed, causing death. In general, the most common burn damage is to the skin, which throws the whole body out of balance. A burn victim‘s quality of life is rough and costly, as they face constant medical treatments, preventive therapy to avoid infections and joints contracting.

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I have written multiple articles and blogs about the dangers of distracted driving. Mobile phone use and texting while driving have been frequent and appropriate targets. Accident statistics clearly demonstrate that distracted driving is dangerous; doing anything at the same time you are driving tons of machinery at high speeds is not a great idea. Here is an example:

This Colorado case involves a family of three; they were hit by a teenage driver while out for a leisurely bike ride. The seventeen year old plowed into the three cyclists as they were crossing the street at a pedestrian crosswalk. They had activated the flashing lights at the crosswalk and they were flashing as they crossed. The young driver said he didn’t see the flashing lights. The police discovered he’d been eating his lunch while trying to drive and was distracted. He will be charged with reckless driving.

The mother and her 10 year old child sustained non life threatening injuries, but the 7 year old was critically injured. He was air lifted to a hospital that specializes in serious head and back injuries. He was listed in critical condition and there is a good chance he sustained a traumatic brain injury that may affect him for the rest of his life.

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Today, I read about the fatality of an extended family from Kentucky. On March 26, John Esh, 65 was driving a 15-passenger Dodge van on Interstate 65 when it was struck head-on by a tractor trailer that broke through the steel barrier cables on the median. The tractor trailer, driven by Kenneth Layman, 45, of Alabama, smashed into the van, then a rock wall before catching on fire. In the van with Mr. Esh was an extended family of nine, plus three friends of the family. The only survivors were Esh’s grandsons Josiah, 5, and Johnny, 3, both most likely saved by child safety seats.

Unfortunately, this is not the first hardship and loss the Esh family endured in the past few years. Johnny Esh, Jr. died four years ago in a snowmobile accident while doing mission work in the Ukraine. Last December, a fire destroyed their family home. Luckily, there were no fatalities from the fire. A daughter survived when she jumped off a porch roof onto a trampoline. In both situations, the community rallied together to support the Esh family. They rebuilt the family home within a few months. Now they gathered to build wooden caskets for ten of their faith-family.

Assuming, that this fatality was due to negligence on the part of Mr. Layman, might there also be some negligence on the part of the company that manufactured or installed the steel cable barriers that failed to hold back the semi? Could stronger cable barriers have been made/installed? According to Kentucky State Police, the barriers are the strongest made, but would not have stopped a fully loaded truck because they are not designed to withstand the force of a truck the size and weight of Layman’s. Lawsuit Financial asks: “Why not?” Aren’t our highways frequently traveled by truckers with heavy loads? How do we make our roadways safe from fatalities like this one? Research shows that the use of cable barriers had a significant effect on the reduction of cross-median crashes; while the results may be encouraging, fatal cross-median accidents where vehicles break through steel barriers requires additional attention and improvement.

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Julia Ramos was severely injured in a one-car automobile accident in October of 2009. As a result of this devastating accident, she suffered a traumatic brain injury.

The impact of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be devastating for the injured and his/her family. Those suffering from a TBI can have permanent brain damage including problems breathing, walking, control of muscle reflexes, speech capacity, and more. Coping with TBI may require substantial and long-term care from loved ones. Such is the case for the unfortunate Ms. Ramos, who lost control of her vehicle during a rain storm and slammed into a pole. The impact of the crash caused several facial and skull fractures and swelling of her brain. Ramos had been in a coma at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where her status was less than marginal. Unless doctors noted some sign of brain activity, Ramos would have to be admitted to a nursing home. She was unable to breathe on her own and was fed through a feeding tube. When the swelling in her brain began forcing one eye out of its socket, doctors performed a bedside procedure to relieve the pressure and fluid. The family refused to give up; this includes her fiancé, Chris Medina.

Mr. Medina stayed at her bedside talking and playing his guitar until one day there was a glimmer of hope – she waved to his camera phone; Medina caught this on tape for the doctors. Then, she began breathing on her own. Soon after, she began a difficult rehabilitation program.

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The injustice known as “tort reform” never ceases to amaze and/or incense me. Supposedly, it is an attempt to reduce so-called “frivolous lawsuits”. “Frivolous” cases, by definition, are worthless cases that clog up the court dockets and waste everyone’s time, right? So what is the remedy that the tort reformers seek for these worthless cases? Unbelievably, the answer is “caps on damage awards”. This is true in every example of tort reform legislation in every state that has enacted it. Someday, someone will have to explain to me how a top-end damage cap prevents the filing of a bottom-feeding worthless case. The more appropriate “tort reform” solution is to penalize attorneys who file worthless lawsuits.

So why do the ‘tort reformers’ carry on this way? Why do they always yell “frivolous” and “damage caps” in the same breath? Because they get substantial contributions from insurance companies to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. These multi-billion dollar insurance companies are laughing at all of us who buy into this nonsense, laughing all the way to the bank.

Here’s a sad example of the injustice I am talking about: In 2004, the state of Nevada passed tort reform legislation. Of course, it took the form of a damage cap on medical malpractice cases. Now, medical malpractice litigation is very expensive to pursue to conclusion. Thus, a cap in these cases, effectively, hamstrings medical malpractice lawyers from handling these cases, because they are unable to get an adequate settlement for seriously injured or disabled victims of medical malpractice.