Drunk driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is a strict liability offense in most US states. This means that the prosecution does not have to prove that the driver intended to drive while intoxicated; it is based on the doctrine of foreseeable results.
But there are instances where the defendant had no intention of getting intoxicated. One scenario is when a prescribed medication induced intoxication and the side effect is not included in the list of contraindications in the medication’s instructions. Another is the ingestion of an intoxicating substance was unknowingly ingested, such as at a high school party where the punch was spiked with alcohol as a prank, and the defendant did not know. Still another is when space cakes or hash brownies are served at a party, and the defendant ate them without knowing they contained marijuana. This could also be classified as a mistake of fact, an element of the involuntary intoxication plea.
Some jurisdictions such as California expressly states that an individual who can prove involuntary intoxication cannot be convicted of a crime because they committed the offense without being conscious of it and could not have foreseen the consequences. The sting in that needle is in proving the element of free will, which is the burden of the defense.
For the defense to work, it also has to be shown that the defendant in no way intended to get intoxicated. For example, if the defendant went to a party and drank a cocktail that was more potent than anticipated, the resulting intoxication cannot be said to be involuntary as the defendant did willingly ingest alcohol. Taking medication that was clearly marked as contraindicated when driving is also not compatible with involuntary intoxication.
There are many elements that would need to come together for a successful involuntary intoxication defense, and not all jurisdictions accept it as a viable defense. It is up to the criminal defense lawyer to make the call.
It may sound like a bad joke, but there is such a thing as immunity against a wrongful death lawsuit even if negligence is clearly established. Certain groups are provided protection by the law from a wrongful death claim, which means that they cannot be held liable even if it is their fault that a person or persons died.
But like anything involving the law, it is not as simple as that.
Wrongful death claims can usually apply when a person dies from the action or inaction of another person. The opinion expressed in the website of the Ausband Firm in Atlanta is that such sudden deaths are highly traumatic for the survivors. Common situations where a wrongful death may occur would be car accidents, medical errors, dangerous premises, and equipment failures. Anyone or anything that caused the situation is generally liable under tort law.
However, there are exceptions. Government agencies and corporations, public schools, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, family members, railroad companies, generic drug manufacturers, and some medical device manufacturers have been granted immunity from wrongful death claims.
It is easy to understand why the police and firefighters are given this immunity if the injury or death occurred in the performance of their duties; it is less clear why generic drug manufacturers have the same protection. After all, the nature of firefighting and police work entails a certain degree of fatal injury potential. But it is hard to justify why manufacturers of brand name drugs can be sued while manufacturers of the generic version of the same drug cannot be.
But nothing is set in stone when it comes to the law. The immunity of generic drug companies has already been successfully challenged in California, and there is no reason why a competent wrongful death attorney in Atlanta, Georgia or in Washington, D.C. cannot do the same with the right case.
If you are a “real person of interest,” meaning you are eligible to file a wrongful death suit on behalf of the victim, then it would be best to have an experienced wrongful death lawyer on your camp. You may be compelled to pull out all the stops to get justice, and you need someone with a thorough knowledge of state law to get it properly done.
Premises liability is a complex issue in tort law, mostly because it is difficult to assign blame. Generally, the premises owner or controller is liable when a person or persons suffer injury because of dangerous conditions on the property. In order to make a claim, the plaintiff must have been licensed or invited to be on the premises in the first place. Trespassers are typically barred from bringing an action against the premises owner because their presence was not lawful.
In the case of children, however, this distinction is not applied. Children are a protected class of victims because it is assumed that they do not have the requisite knowledge or discernment to understand that they are trespassing. As such, the duty of care imposed on the premises owner is more onerous when it comes to children.
Premises liability law as it applies to children is often based on what is referred to as the attractive nuisance doctrine. Most states, including Texas and Wisconsin, apply some version of this doctrine in their tort laws. An article on the website of the Chris Mayo Law Firm in San Antonio, explains that the attractive nuisance doctrine applies to the owner of a property that represents a desirable area for children to visit i.e. swimming pool, who must take measures to neutralize the potential danger it poses to children that may enter the property uninvited and unsupervised.
A good example would be a junkyard. There are a lot of things there that would compel a curious or adventurous child to explore it. There are also a lot of opportunities there for injury to a child. The junkyard owner knows or should have known that children will trespass, and is mandated by law to secure the premises so that children will not be able to get in without being seen. Dangerous objects such as old refrigerators and broken glass must be attended to so that it will not cause harm to a child, such as taking off the refrigerator door and sweeping up the glass.
Premises liability applies when property owners fail to take reasonable care to ensure that a trespassing child will not come to harm in what he or she knows or should have realized would be a desirable property for children to visit. However, it can be a difficult thing to prove without the help of a premises liability lawyer.
If your child suffered serious injury or died on someone else’s property because of prevailing dangerous conditions, you may have recourse to civil litigation. Consult with an experienced lawyer in your state with experience in cases involving children and premises liability.
The number of truck accidents in the US has increased over the last 20 years by approximately 20%. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that there were 273,000 truck accidents reported by the police in 2011 (the latest available on the site), of which 3,568 had 3,757 fatalities. Although this represents just 1.3% of the total number of adverse events, this is still a big number.
That is not even considering the 88,000 people who were injured, and truck accident injuries tend to be serious. According to the website of Morris James LLP, a law firm located in Delaware, this is enough reason to hold trucking companies and drivers to a higher standard of behavior.
Considering that federal law governs the trucking industry, specifically in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 49, it is no wonder that trucking owners would want to dodge liability when it comes to trucking accidents. It is no picnic to get into trouble with the federal government, especially if there is a crime involved such as drunk driving or driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
In truck accident cases, the ones who may have some part to play in terms of responsibility aside from the driver include the truck owner, the leaseholder (if any), the shipper, and the truck or parts manufacturers. Liability will depend on the circumstances and cause of the accident, which in turn will involve their respective insurance companies. Mostly, though, liability is confined to the driver and the truck company.
The truck company tries to dodge liability in truck accidents by claiming the driver is an independent contractor and/or leases the truck from a third party to avoid ownership duties of inspections, maintenance, and repair of the vehicle. However, the law states that as long as the trucking company owns the permit to operate the truck, it is co-liable for any negligent trucking accident.
If you have been seriously injured in a trucking accident, there is a good chance that you can recover damages from the driver and the trucking company. Consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area to get started with the process.
The area surrounding the Gulf of Mexico has always been a popular tourist destination. The marine life is varied, the coastline amenities admirable, and the food superb. This is why the Gulf region is one of the top local destinations for cruise ships.
Immediately after the initial explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by British Petroleum (BP) in April 2010, the effects of the resulting oil spill was not initially a matter of deep concern. However, as the oil continued to spew out of the rig months after it began to leak, earlier optimism started to fade, and cruise lines began to cancel trips to the region.
Not that they had to cancel a whole lot.
News of the environmental disaster had gripped the nation, and those who have lived generations along the coastlines watched helplessly as the oil relentlessly spread, eventually cutting off most water-based livelihood. Aside from the fishing, oyster farming, and shrimping, the oil spill put paid to the income of boat and dock owners who made a living servicing the flood of tourists that regularly came to the region. It wasn’t long before the flood dried up to a very slow trickle.
Inevitably, the sudden halt of tourist traffic into the area had devastating consequences on the businesses that depended on the continued attraction of the Gulf region. Many threw in the towel after it became clear that there would be no quick clean up, while others elected to hold on after making their oil spill claims, hoping the compensation would help them get back in the black.
Unfortunately, the BP oil spill claims process has run into several snags, even delaying the payouts to claims that have already been assessed and approved. Without the help of experienced business economic loss lawyers to press their claim, it is not inconceivable that BP may succeed in thoroughly mucking up the works for those with legitimate claims.
If you are experiencing difficulty in making a BP oil spill claim, it would be advisable to consult with a lawyer who has handled similar cases to explore your legal options. Currently, the BP-authored Deepwater Horizon Settlement agreement is in dispute, but there are ways to make a claim against BP and its partners outside the Settlement.
The use of transvaginal mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or pelvic organ prolapsed) seemed like a good idea at first. Surgical mesh has been used with much success in treating hernias, so the translation to SUI or POP support did not seem like such a long stretch. Past events prove that the pharmaceutical dangers presented by use of the mesh are nothing to laugh at.
SUI is a condition that primarily affects older women when the pelvic muscles become weaker so when they cough or laugh a little harder, a little urine squirts out. POP may also develop in older women, where the bladder, rectum, or uterus may get out of its usual position and bulge out on the vagina. These conditions are not always severe enough to require surgery, but when it is, the treatment method of choice at one point was the use of a transvaginal mesh to provide the support to prevent incontinence or slippage.
Manufacturers produced transvaginal mesh with the blessings of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it was implanted in a lot of women. Because the FDA did not require clinical trials for this new use for surgical mesh, it was not until complications started to develop that the problems with this oversight surfaced.
The first problem was the risk of infection. The implantation was routinely done through the vagina, which is not ever totally sterile. A lot of women developed serious infections on the site that spread throughout their body.
The second problem was of dynamics. The vagina is designed to contract and expand as needed; the mesh is not. Over time, the mesh developed rough edges that damaged the walls of the vagina and other organs in the area, leading to painful and life-long problems for the patient. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, the health risks of the product far outweighed its benefits, especially as safer alternatives are available for SUI and POP sufferers.
Even though the FDA did not require clinical trials, the manufacturers should have carried them out to ensure the safety of the end-users. This is a duty of care that was disregarded and would cost them plenty in the end because of their civil liability. Thousands of patients have suffered from physical, emotional and financial damage because of this negligence. The only way that they can get some compensation for the manufacturers’ lack of foresight is by engaging the services of a product liability lawyer to file a suit.