constructionworker2.jpgThe exclusive remedy provision of workers’ compensation law in most states provides that employers – and those standing in the place of employers (i.e., employees, certain contractors etc.) – are shielded from civil liability for work-related injuries. Instead, workers are extended no-fault insurance through their employer’s workers’ compensation program.

However, there are still cases in which injured workers – or family members of those killed – may pursue third-party liability of others besides the employer who may have been negligent in causing the accident.

This was the type of case in Hanco Corporation v. Goldman, after a horrific work site accident killed three, including plaintiff’s husband. The three workers were buried alive underneath dirt and clay at an industrial park while installing a sewer line. Decedent was 55 years-old. The other two men killed were ages 30 and 19. Co-workers tried desperately to dig the victims out with their own hands, but they couldn’t get them out in time.
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It’s not always the pilot of an aircraft would have grounds to sue passengers for a fatal crash landing. However, in the case of Krinitt v. Dept of Fish and Game, the mother of a pilot killed in a helicopter accident is suing the state government agency that contracted with the pilot’s employer for a job.
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Plaintiff, as executrix of pilot’s estate, alleges defendant government agency’s employees were negligent, and their actions were the cause of the crash. The case was recently before the Idaho Supreme Court, which reversed an earlier grant of summary judgment favoring the defense.

The high court determined lower court erred in its summary judgment decision because the facts are to be liberally construed in favor of the non-moving party, with all reasonable inferences taken from the record to be drawn in their favor. Because it was the defense filing for summary judgment, the facts were to be considered in the light most favorable to plaintiff. That didn’t happen here. The reversal means plaintiff may now proceed to trial with her case.

According to court records, the helicopter crash happened in 2010, resulting in the death of the pilot, and ultimately both passengers, who worked for the state Department of Fish and Game.
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Consumers in the U.S. are protected by a number of provisions of both state and federal laws with regard to promises or “warranties” made by companies about their products.
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Some of these warranties are in written or spoken form. These are called “express warranties.” However, there are also certain unwritten, unspoken expectations to which consumers are entitled. These are called “implied warranties.”

Essentially, consumers almost always have some recourse when products don’t meet their basic expectations – especially when the result is someone is injured. The most common that we see in product liability law is implied warranty of merchantability. That means the product is guaranteed to work and be reasonably safe when used for its intended purpose.
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Most crashes occur because a driver made a mistake. However, sometimes, the way the roadway or traffic is designed or constructed can play a role in either causing an accident or amplifying the severity. carbridge.jpg

In such cases, car accident victims may be able to secure compensation from the public agency responsible, and potentially from contractors who may have worked with that agency on the project.

In the case of Logan v. Miss. Dept. of Transportation, the issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court was whether there were sufficient issues of material fact for plaintiffs to proceed with their claim that a defective repair of a bridge caused them to spin out-of-control and suffer injuries. The court ruled there was, and that a statement by the couple’s daughter-in-law regarding a conversation she had with transportation department officials at the scene of the crash was admissible in court – even though the workers hadn’t been authorized by their employer to make those statements.

Here’s what happened, according to court records:

Plaintiffs – husband and wife – were driving over a bridge that had recently undergone repairs. As they approached, there were no warning lights or indications that there was anything unsafe about the structure or the roadway. But as they crossed, the undercarriage of their vehicle got caught on two metal plates that were crisscrossed and sticking up from the road. This caused the driver to spin out of control and both vehicle occupants suffered injury. They called for help, and when their daughter-in-law got word, she rushed to the scene.
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A man who required a leg amputation after falling three stories while applying stucco to a building exterior was awarded $2.8 million in damages following his third-party liability lawsuit. dangerhardhatarea.jpg

However, his damage award will be reduced by 30 percent, the portion of fault jurors deemed he had in the accident. It’s worthwhile to note that this case, Chin v. Koryo Corp. et al., happened in New Jersey, which abides by a different system of comparative fault than Alabama. Here, we follow a system of pure contributory negligence. That means if a plaintiff is making a claim for damages, that claim will be defeated if defendant can prove negligence on the part of plaintiff – no matter how small.

Another important point is that while this was a work-related injury, this was not a workers’ compensation case. It was a third-party liability lawsuit. Workers cannot sue their employers for workplace injuries (except in rare instances), but they can take action against other responsible parties.
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A woman was on her way to give a motivational speech at a work conference when a semi-truck appeared seemingly out of nowhere. It was dark out, and the truck didn’t have any side reflectors or bright colors. The woman never even braked until just seconds before impact. road7.jpg

When her small passenger vehicle collided with the 80,000-pound truck, which was pulling out of a driveway into an intersection,the impact shattered the front windshield and tore off her roof as she skidded underneath the trailer.

She suffered severe brain damage. In fact, she never awoke from her coma. She died in a hospital four months later, leaving behind a husband and a daughter, pregnant with her first grandchild.

Now, her husband has filed a wrongful death truck accident lawsuit against the manufacturer of that truck. In Dodgen v. PJ Trailers Manufacturing Inc., filed in the 165th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas, plaintiffs allege defendant knew or should have known the risk of serious head trauma and decapitation that accompanies failure to install side underride guards.
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In the course of civil litigation, it is not uncommon for parties to settle out-of-court prior to – or even during – a trial.
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In cases where there are multiple defendants, there may be situations in which some defendants settle out-of-court and others don’t. While those that do settle may not longer be compelled to pay additional damages, they may still be found liable in court. Generally what this means is that damages owed by the remaining defendants will be reduced by whatever share the settling defendant would have owed.

However, there is the issue of joint and several liability. This is when there are multiple parties liable for the same act or event, and plaintiff could collect damages from any, several or all liable parties.
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An Alabama man is now paralyzed after the semi-truck he was operating overturned on Interstate 10. truck2.jpg

He recently won a $14 million truck accident lawsuit against the company that serviced his rig several days before the wreck.

The Mobile man might have received as much as $19 million following the two-week trial. However, he and the defense struck a deal during jury deliberations. The deal was that even if plaintiff lost the case, defense would still pay $2 million. However, if plaintiff won, the most defense would pay was $14 million. Both sides also agreed there would be no appeal.
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When Mal Moore, the former athletic director for the University of Alabama, died two years ago, he was in the advanced stages of pulmonary fibrosis. It was the ailment that caused him to step down. He was soon after hospitalized and died in March 2013.
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Now, his daughter alleges that the condition was caused by a drug he was prescribed in 2008 for treatment of an irregular heartbeat.

In its generic form, the drug is called amiodarone, and it’s used to treat life-threatening heart rhythm problems (known as arrhythmias) in individuals who have already taken other similar forms of medication. Moore only took the medication for three months to treat his condition, but his daughter alleges this exposure to the drug caused him to develop the pulmonary fibrosis.

Her federal lawsuit, Cook v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., was filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division.
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The teenage son of a state trooper was killed last year following a wedding reception where he allegedly consumed alcohol purchased by the underage son of the hosts, the father and mother of the bride.
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Now, the hosts are facing criminal charges for aiding and abetting underage drinking, and several businesses involved in furnishing the alcohol have been named in a civil lawsuit filed by the decedent’s parents.

Reports indicate the decedent’s parents may also sue the hosts separately for wrongful death.

The case is a tragic example of why hosts should never be lax when it comes to teens and alcohol, even when the atmosphere of the event is jovial.

News reports indicate decedent was with his 19-year-old friend when he walked into a local liquor store and purchased a fifth of whiskey. The purpose was to share it among a small group of teen friends, who had been invited last minute to the wedding reception.

In addition to consuming this liquor, the teen reportedly drank wine served by a catering service owned by the groom.
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