Articles Posted in Third-Party Liability

The 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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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.

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 $37 million verdict against a business that served alcohol to a driver who then killed a man in a DUI collision has been overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court on the grounds that notice of the lawsuit wasn’t properly served. This was despite the plaintiff’s compliance with the formalities of service by publication as approved by the trial court.

Montgomery DUI accident lawyers recognize this as a cautionary tale regarding serving a defendant by publication, and underscores the plaintiff’s burden to prove that every effort was made to serve the defendant before the case progresses.

It’s not uncommon for defendants to avoid being served with civil court papers. The theory is that if they aren’t served notice, the case can’t proceed. This is only true to an extent. The case will eventually move forward – but only if plaintiffs can prove they made every effort to serve notice on the defendant and the defendant actively hid or endeavored to avoid being served.
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When we send our children off to college, we know that we can’t protect them from every possible scenario that may arise. We trust that we have equipped them with the necessary tools to act wisely and seek our counsel when they need it.

However, when it comes to the issue of campus sexual assault, parents have little control. We must trust that the university will do everything in its power to limit the potential for such incidents or, at the very least, respond swiftly and appropriately when an allegation is made. In fact, higher educational institutions that receive federal funding are legally bound to do so under Title IX.

Montgomery injury attorneys
know, however, that proving a school failed in this regard can be a tough task. Plaintiffs are required to show that the institution acted with “deliberate indifference,” either to the threat of an assault before it happens or in response to an assault, after the allegation is made.
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An Alabama man has been embroiled in a personal injury claim that recently reached the state supreme court, after he was injured in a parking lot fall at his local doctor’s office.

Premise liability claims such as these can and often do involve more than one defendant. In the case of Crabtree v. BASF Building Systems, LLC, the plaintiff looked to hold responsible not just the owner of the building, but also the construction contractors who worked on the top layer of the parking deck, and the manufacturer of the top coat product used to pave the area.

Initially when he filed the complaint, the plaintiff named the doctor’s office, but included in his complaint several “fictitious” defendants. These are individuals or companies that may be connected to the injury lawsuit, but may not be identifiable at the time the claim is filed.
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When crimes are committed, we must of course first and foremost hold the assailant(s) responsible for their alleged actions.However, we also recognize that in some cases, perpetrators might never have had the opportunity to carry out their actions but for the negligence of someone else. These third parties must also be held accountable.

When such a lawsuit is filed, it’s called a third-party liability case. Beyond serving to help the victim be made whole, these types of cases can also ensure that no one else has to endure that same kind of incident.
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Although drinking and driving is both dangerous and illegal, it remains the most common cause of Montgomery car accidents to date. However, have you ever wondered whether you can be held liable for knowingly allowing another to drink and drive?If you have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, it is important to get the advice of an experienced Montgomery injury attorney.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court delves into this complicated legal issue of duty to third parties. Gushlaw v. Miller, No. 2009-376-Appeal (R.I. S.Ct. May 10, 2012). This case arose where two adult men, Joseph Clukey (Clukey) and Matthew Milner (Milner) (collectively, defendants), decided to go to a hotel party. Defendants were nineteen and twenty, respectively. They met at a local convenience store, and illegally purchased an eighteen pack of beer. They decided that Clukey would drive the forty five minutes to the location where the party was being held. The hostess of the party was only seventeen, and she had about eight to ten people gathering at this hotel party.

Upon arriving at the party, defendants began to drink very heavily. Each of the defendant’s consumed seven or eight beers. The party-goers were at the hotel pool, having a bar-be-que and drinking outside. The defendants began to get loud and obnoxious, causing the hostess to ask them to leave the party. Although Milner only lived three blocks from the party, the two men agreed to go back to the convenience store so that Milner could pick up his vehicle.

Cluckey drove intoxicated to the convenience store and dropped Milner off. Clukey knew that Milner was also intoxicated and that Milner was going to drive in that condition.
Several hours after the two men separated, Milner was driving at very high speeds. He crossed the middle line and collided with a vehicle that was being driven by Eldrick Johnson (Johnson). This head-on collision caused Milner to die immediately. Johnson survived the actual crash; however, he died upon arrival at the hospital from injuries related to the collision. Johnson was survived by his wife (plaintiff) and four minor children.

Plaintiff sued Milner, Milner’s father, Allstate Insurance Co. and Clukey. She argued that Clukey should be held liable under the theory of negligence because he knew or should have known that someone could be injured by Milner driving drunk. This argument centered on the idea that Clukey had owed a duty of care to all of the public to keep Milner, who was knowingly drunk, from driving.

The question for the court became whether Clukey was liable for the death of Johnson because he knowingly let Milner drive while intoxicated.

In order to prove a claim for negligence, the plaintiff has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the four elements of negligence. These are: defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff; defendant breached this duty; the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries; and the plaintiff suffered damages.
Clukey argued that he did not owe this duty of care. He stated further that it would be unreasonable to add this duty of care to third persons.

The state supreme court found that a person cannot be held liable for the injuries of another where they knowing let another person drive drunk. Hence, the court entered summary judgment for Clukey because this duty requirement would be excessive.

Every state has analyzed this question a little differently, which is why it is so critical to have an attorney guide you in your personal injury lawsuit.
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All vehicles go through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 5-star safety rating program.

The NHTSA recently reported that it will be rating all new model 2012 vehicles. Some vehicles that have carry-over designs from previous models may have already been rated. This program is used to help consumers to determine which vehicles are most likely to keep them safe in the event of a car accident in Montgomery or elsewhere. More than 80 percent of the new model vehicles are going through the test. More than 90 percent of the new model vehicles will have rollover tests conducted as well. Manufacturers get very competitive when it comes to these tests. Poor rating can severely damage the sales for a specific vehicle.Our Montgomery car accident attorneys understand that more than 70 new models will go through the NHTSA’s rigorous testing. Consumers who check such ratings when making a new-vehicle purchase can reduce their risks of serious or fatal injuries in the event of an accident. It’s just one more way to be a smart consumer while keeping your family as safe as possible.

This year’s tested vehicles include more than 40 passenger cars, more than 20 SUVs, eight pickups and two vans. The new rating system has been upgraded from last years. With each and every upgrade, vehicle manufacturers continue to advance their products to meet stricter rating systems. You’re urged to check out to check out your vehicle’s car rating. This is also a great website to use to learn about any vehicle recalls.

“By revamping the tests and creating a more rigorous program last year, we raised the bar on safety for all vehicle manufacturers. People should remember: More stars, safer cars,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

Safety ratings aren’t the only thing that new NHTSA testing provides for consumers. The new program also offers drivers with information regarding a vehicle’s “crash avoidance” technology.

In 2010, there were less than 40 vehicles that came equipped with this technology. Since the NHTSA started testing the technology in its new program, nearly 70 vehicles have installed safety features. These features include forward collision warning (FCW) and lane departure warning (LDW). Of the new vehicles, more than 10 have LDW, nearly 20 have FCW and nearly 40 come equipped with both. As tests get harder and more thorough, car manufacturers are forced to create better cars to keep up and to make their products appealing to consumers.

Safety ratings are one of the most important factors to consumers when purchasing a vehicle.

The 5-star rating system has been combing the design of vehicles for about 30 years now. This rating has become the gold standard for those who are looking into purchasing a new vehicle. These ratings let drivers know about their chances of not only surviving an accident, but avoiding one in the first place.

As soon as the new ratings are released, you’re urged to scan through them before purchasing a new car. You can still visit the website to learn about the dangers, safety features or any recalls of the car you’re currently driving.
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An Alabama man was recently injured while on the job in an Alabama manufacturing plant. He was walking thru the main aisle way of a storage warehouse when a container weighing several hundred pounds fell on top of him. The man suffered five fractures, some of which required surgery to stabilize.

Generally, an injured employee’s only remedy is under the Alabama Worker’s Compensation Act. However, if the injury is actually caused by an individual or entity with no connection to the employer (a third party), the injured worker may pursue a case against the third party directly.
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