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Children and Premises Liability

Posted By on Feb 16, 2014

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. 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.

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Dodging Liability for Truck Accidents

Posted By on Feb 13, 2014

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 the Williams Kherkher Firm, 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.

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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.

Since the Gulf of Mexico is a popular tourist attraction for cruise ships, big cruise lines have been starting to gain more passengers over the past few years after the oil spill has settled. Though passengers still are loyal to their cruise ship lines, there are incidents that have happened lately that may convince otherwise. In some reports from February 2013, there have been reports of engine fires which later ensued to a very poor environment for the ship’s passengers. No injuries were reported, but there could have easily been one in this situation. If anyone you know has been involved in an injury on a cruise ship, contact a cruise ship lawyer to learn more about filing a case against a cruise line.

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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.

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