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Category Archive: Law Blog

Category Archive: Law Blog

  1. What Can I Do if I’m Injured on a Cruise Ship?

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    A cruise can be a fantastic way to enjoy your vacation time, but it’s vital to know what you should do in the event of an injury on a cruise ship. Whenever a customer suffers an injury in a place of business, the business owner typically bears the brunt of the liability. However, cruise ship injuries may touch on various aspects of the law, including common carrier laws, maritime law, and personal injury.

    Cruise ship operators must exercise reasonable care while discharging their duties and carrying passengers. This also means the cruise ship operators must follow all applicable maritime laws, conduct thorough and proper maintenance of all vessels, and properly train all staff members. It’s important to note that common carriers are often liable for passenger injuries that result from intentional acts or negligence, regardless of intent, but are not strictly liable for all passenger injuries.

    Filing Claims for Cruise Ship Injuries

    If you set sail on a cruise, inspect your ticket and all the information the carrier provides before departure. In most cases, you may only file legal claims in the state specified by the carrier, regardless of where on your cruise the injury took place. It’s also important to note that most cruise carriers do not register in the United States, but rather other countries where they make port, such as various Caribbean island nations or South American countries. These places typically have more relaxed safety and labor standards than the United States.

    Maritime law applies in these situations. Under maritime laws, a carrier is only liable for a passenger injury if the plaintiff can prove the carrier knew or should have known about the unsafe condition that caused the injury. If the carrier created or failed to address a foreseeably hazardous issue, the carrier is liable for resulting injuries under maritime laws.

    Waivers and Legal Contracts

    Most of the information you need regarding lawsuits against a cruise carrier is on the back of your ticket. In addition to specifying the state in which you must file claims, the ticket also presents a legal contract to which you agree by boarding the vessel and taking part in the cruise. The ticket will also explain the statute of limitations, or time limit, you have for filing claims for damages against the carrier. It’s vital to keep this information available in case of an accident so you can file all the necessary paperwork on time.

    It’s also important to note that many of these contracts include limited liability waivers or other releases of liability; however, these may not fully protect a carrier from liability if you suffer an injury. Depending on the specific details of your situation, these waivers may not hold up in court.

    Proving Negligence

    Injured plaintiffs must prove that a cruise carrier acted in a way that was inconsistent with how a “reasonably careful ship operator” would have in the same situation. If you suffer an injury aboard a cruise ship, your attorney must prove the operator either knew about the injury-causing hazard, or should have known about it. The question of “foreseeability” arises quite often in these disputes, and the law accounts for the fact that even the most diligent operator cannot fully account for every conceivable dangerous condition.  When cruise operator employees cause harm to passengers through negligence or willful acts, the operator typically assumes liability.

    Ultimately, an injury on a cruise ship can quickly turn into a complex legal issue requiring professional attention. If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s important to find an attorney who has experience with personal injury lawsuits, maritime law, and common carrier laws. Look for a track record of success in similar cases when searching for a lawyer to represent your case.

  2. How Do You Prove Fault in a Car Crash?

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    Car accidents are an unfortunate eventuality for many drivers, and it’s vital to know what to expect should you find yourself in one. If another driver was reckless or negligent, they need to take responsibility for their actions and the injuries and damage they cause. However, it’s important for victims of negligent drivers to know what to do immediately after a crash and how to prove another driver’s fault.

    Immediately After a Crash

    Your first step after any car accident is to assess your injuries, if any, and seek medical attention immediately if necessary. If your injuries demand serious medical intervention, do not move and instead wait for emergency responders. If you can easily get up and move, you should assess the condition of any other drivers involved in the crash and start gathering evidence. It may sound rushed, but car accidents are typically cleaned up very quickly, and vital evidence of another driver’s negligence can easily be lost forever during the cleanup process.

    Most states require you to call the police if any property damage occurred or if anyone suffered any injuries or died from a crash. After contacting the police, try to take as many pictures as you can of the accident site. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and the other involved in the accident. Try to also take pictures of the road and markings on it, such as lane dividing lines and skid marks from sudden braking. Finally, try to take pictures of the surrounding area for landmarks, distance, and other details. All of these photos help create a visual representation of the accident and the immediate aftermath for a jury.

    Police Reports

    Once police arrive, they will assess the situation and take statements from every driver involved. It’s important to watch your words when speaking to police – anything that sounds remotely like an admission of fault will be held as such, so don’t admit to any fault and simply answer the officer’s questions honestly and concisely. Keep in mind that police reports are not entirely set in stone. If new evidence or other developments such as errors with the original report arise, you can typically solve them easily by providing the police with the correct information.

    No-Fault Accidents

    Some car accidents may prove very difficult to assess fault, while others are clearly the result of one driver’s actions. These are “no-fault” accidents and typically lead to speedy resolutions. Some of the most common no-fault accidents include rear-end collisions and left-turn collisions. All drivers should leave enough space between their cars and the cars immediately in front of them so there is room to stop if necessary. A driver who hits another car from behind will rarely be able to argue against his or her fault in the accident, unless a third driver influenced the crash in some way.

    Similarly, cars making left-hand turns through intersections are most often to blame for crashes in these situations. Cars traveling straight through the intersection have the right of way before left-turning cars. In some cases, a left-turning driver may be able to argue that another driver or unforeseen hazard forced him or her to stop in the intersection, causing an accident.

    Establishing Negligence

    Personal injury law hinges on the concept of negligence. To prove negligence, you and your attorney must be able to prove that the defendant had a duty to act with reasonable care, violated this duty, and their actions directly led to your injuries and damages. This is often far more complex than it sounds, so one of the best steps you can take when trying to prove another driver’s fault in a car accident is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney.

  3. What is Toxic Mold?

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    Every homeowner dreads the idea of finding mold growth in the house. Mold outbreaks are not just unsightly – they can be extremely dangerous for you and your family’s health. However, due to numerous recent lawsuits, increasing public concerns, and inaccurate or sensationalized reporting from the media, many misconceptions about mold continue to pervade the public. Many homeowners may be holding inaccurate beliefs about mold, and it’s vital to separate the facts from the myths.

    Understanding the Basics of Mold

    Fungus serves an extremely important function in the world’s ecological systems: it helps break down and repurpose decaying organic matter. Without fungus, dead organic matter would remain and stagnate, potentially endangering other life in the area. Mold is a kind of fungus that can grow in virtually any warm, damp environment, inside or outside. Indoor mold appears in thousands of variations, and you should be happy to learn that even moderate mold deposits in your home probably aren’t hazardous to your health.

    Generally, mold only becomes a threat if you face repeated exposure to large, dense mold deposits. In most situations, homeowners will be able to identify and handle these deposits before they reach significant levels. Cleaning mold deposits can be a challenge, even for small amounts. Mold reproduces through spores – tiny, almost invisible specks of fungal matter that become airborne and settle into other warm, damp surfaces to proliferate. Mold spores are also incredibly resilient and able to survive harsh environments much longer than you may expect.

    Finding Mold in Your Home

    Since mold requires warmth and moisture to grow, you’ll typically find mold in the areas of your home that have the least ventilation and the highest moisture levels, usually basements, kitchens, and bathrooms. You may also see mold growth in other places if you recently experienced water damage or a plumbing failure.

    Most of the potted plants in and around your home likely have some amount of mold living in them, and mold can grow on various other surfaces and substances in your home, such as wood, paper, ceiling tiles, cardboard, drywall, and fabrics. Mold in one area of your house can easily spread to others by releasing spores which travel through your heating and air conditioning system. You may also track mold spores into your home on dirty shoes and clothing.

    Mold vs. “Toxic Mold”

    Technically, there is no such thing as “toxic” mold; however, some mold can produce mycotoxins under specific conditions. These mycotoxins spread with the mold’s spores and can cause significant health problems if your body absorbs them on a regular basis for an extended time. Two of the most commonly cited “toxic” molds are Aspergillis and Stachybotrys atra, also known as “black mold.” Black mold is adept at growing in structures with water or flooding damage.

    Mold Removal

    Unless you’re only facing a very small mold deposit, you should hire professionals who can handle mold removal. Mold spores can easily spread to other areas of your home when you attempt to clean it without the proper techniques and tools. Additionally, the mold removal process is different depending on what type of surface you intend to clean. If mold accumulates in an absorbent or porous material, you typically have no other option besides replacing the affected materials. It’s important to spot and control mold growth as early as possible to prevent the need for extensive and costly renovations.

    If you believe that mold exposure created a health issue for you or a loved one, it’s important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible about it. While establishing negligence for a mold outbreak can prove tricky, an accomplished attorney will be able to assess the facts of your case and let you know your options for legal recourse.

  4. Injured During Public Transit Accident?

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    Everyone on the road potentially faces serious accidents. While being involved in a car accident can leave victims stunned and unsure of their next steps, accidents involving public transit vehicles compound this confusion. If you’ve suffered an injury from a public transit accident such as a bus, train, or subway, it’s vital to know your options for legal recourse. You’ll also need to secure representation from a qualified attorney, as public transit accidents operate differently than typical car crashes.

    Understanding Common Carrier Laws

    Any entity that conducts business by transporting people or goods between places is a common carrier under the law. Common carriers are legally responsible for the safety of all their passengers, and thus the law considers them as having a higher duty of care than other motorists. When you get in a car accident with a negligent driver, you must prove the other driver acted in a way that is inconsistent with what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation.

    After a public transit accident, you must prove the carrier acted in a manner inconsistent with what a reasonably careful operator would have done in the same situation. In many cases, proving the carrier failed to meet the standard of a “reasonably careful operator” is enough to establish negligence. Additionally, your attorney must determine whether the carrier is a private or government entity, as the rules for engaging either in a lawsuit vary greatly.

    Government-Operated Common Carriers

    Many public transportation entities operate under government direction and receive tax-based funding. If your accident involved such a carrier, your attorney must navigate the local tort claims acts for filing claims against government agencies. These rules typically dictate the statute of limitations or time limit you must file a claim. Additionally, the process for filing notices of claims or other documentation to progress these lawsuits fall under very strict deadlines. Some local governments also have caps on the amount of damages you can potentially recover from a lawsuit against a government agency.

    Potential Grounds for Public Transit Negligence

    If you suffer serious injuries or damages from a public transit accident, you may need to navigate complex legal issues to secure compensation. Most traffic accidents cause broken bones, lacerations, blunt force trauma wounds, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, burns, crushing injuries, and many more possibilities. On a common carrier transporting several people at once, the additional passengers and larger size of most common carrier vehicles compound the dangers of a typical car crash and open a host of other potential hazards.

    It’s also important to note that you can suffer damages or injuries from a common carrier even if you are not a passenger. For example, if a city bus runs a red light or fails to properly signal and hits you while walking or while in your car, you would need to familiarize yourself with common carrier laws to file the appropriate legal action.

    Your Legal Options

    Common carriers must ensure every one of their vehicles meets all safety regulations and standards. Failing this, a mechanical flaw or defective part could put passengers’ lives in jeopardy. Additionally, all crew members and individual operators should complete the necessary training before transporting passengers. Negligent or poorly trained crew members can easily cause serious accidents, shifting liability to the carrier.

    One of the best assets to have on your side after a public transit accident is a qualified and experienced attorney. While a civil action against a private carrier is typically straightforward, filing a claim against a government carrier is very complex and necessitates decisive, timely action. Take your time and find an attorney with a track record of success in public transit accident cases to increase your chances of reaching a positive result.

  5. Filing Dangerous Drug Lawsuits for Harmful Side Effects

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    Americans face a great number of concerns when it comes to healthcare, and suffering harmful side effects from dangerous drugs is unfortunately one of the most common. Physicians who prescribe medications must take care to do so in their patients’ best interests and fully inform their patients of the drug’s necessity, possible side effects, and hazardous interactions with other medications. Failing at any of these things, doctors who prescribe dangerous drugs with harmful side effects may be guilty of medical malpractice.

    What are My Options?

    When you’ve experienced the harmful side effects of a dangerous drug, you may be wondering if you have any options for legal recourse. You may also wonder who is responsible for your illness or injuries. Depending on the nature of your case, your lawsuit could potentially entail multiple defendants.

    Can I Sue the FDA?

    The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have a responsibility to the American people to ensure no one may sell or distribute harmful substances. This includes regulation of the food and drug industries as well as extensive review processes that ensure product safety. Many people falsely assume that the FDA must approve a drug before it can legally reach patients. While this would seem to make sense, this is not the case. Many drugs reach the market before obtaining FDA approval.

    As a government agency, the FDA has sovereign immunity, protecting it from lawsuits. Since suing the FDA is out of the question, you may think the next logical defendant would be the drug’s manufacturer. Unfortunately, this is not always possible.

    Suing Drug Manufacturers

    Prior to 2013, if a drug manufacturer released a dangerous drug that caused adverse side effects, anyone who suffered these side effects could sue the manufacturers for their losses. However, in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a significant decision regarding the case of Karen Bartlett vs. U.S. Merck and Co. and Mutual Pharmaceutical Company. This ruling states that individuals may not sue drug manufacturers for the effects of drugs that have FDA approval. This means that once the FDA approves a drug, plaintiffs may not sue the manufacturer for damages even in the face of legitimate proof the drug is harmful.

    Since you cannot sue the FDA or the manufacturer (in most cases) for the effects of dangerous drugs, your only options left for legal recourse will be to sue the doctor who prescribed the medication or the pharmacy that filled your prescription. It’s vital to connect with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in these situations so you can more easily establish physician or pharmacy liability.

    Securing Compensation

    Physicians have very high legal standards of care due to the nature of their work. Whenever a doctor violates established medical community standards, endangers the health and wellbeing of patients, or deviates from accepted practices without just cause, a jury may deem the doctor negligent and liable for the effects of a dangerous prescription. Similarly, pharmacists have a legal duty of care to ensure safe dispensing of medications. Pharmacists must recognize dangerous interactions between drugs and verify proper doses per doctors’ instructions.

    You’ll need the services of a qualified and reliable medical malpractice or personal injury attorney to handle your case. To establish physician or pharmacy liability, your attorney must prove that either your physician or pharmacist knew the drug in question was dangerous, and yet supplied it anyway. Most doctors and pharmacies have access to vast legal resources, so only an attorney of your own will have the skills necessary to navigate you to an acceptable result.