In this Issue — March 2010
- WHAT KEEPS LAWYERS AWAKE AT 2 A.M. IN THE MORNING?
Often it’s thinking of ways to make sure your injury gets full value and we can legally collect money for you. Here’s an example: you are severely hurt on the job. The problem is the law says you cannot sue your employer (boss) for your work injuries because of the workers compensation law. The workers compensation law says your medical bills and wage loss will be paid by your boss, but you cannot receive money for your pain and suffering from your employer. Is there any way around it? Maybe. How? If the company you work for is big or national, they probably have a parent or sister company. You might be able to sue the parent or sister company for pain and suffering.
- Think it’s just wishful thinking? Then read this!!
$11M Verdict For Work Related Crane Accident Doing a legal “Statute of Liberty” play is exactly what happened for the family of a Texas crane operator who died after being pinned down by a 1,200 ton weight while performing a crane operation at work. Barred by workers compensation from suing the employer, the attorney instead sued the employer’s parent and sister companies, which he alleged had control of the work site. To show that the defendants had control over the crane operation, the attorney used the deposition testimony of an executive of the parent company who oversaw daily operations onsite. The executive made several admissions proving the parent company, not the employer, oversaw the work site. That strategy was enough to allow the jury to give the family an $11 million award, mostly for pain and suffering!!
- Inadequate Security – Jury Awards Man $14M In Club Shooting
A jury has awarded $14 million to a former Mississippi Valley State University basketball player who was left a paraplegic by a stray bullet fired in a Mississippi nightclub. Michael Archie was shot at Club Focus after a fight he was not involved in broke out on the dance floor. The security guard company was found liable by the jury. They awarded $12 million in compensatory damages and $1 million per defendant in punitive damages. This, of course, is an example of an inadequate security type of case where the defendant charges admission and then fails to provide proper security for the event. A somewhat similar thing happened at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh recently.
- Slip & Fall Injury Cases Premises Liability – Actual or Constructive Notice – Open & Obvious Condition
A tile floor without mats near the site of frequent spills could create an unreasonably dangerous condition allowing the victim of the fall to recover. Plaintiff arrived at the premises of defendant, a social club, to clean deep fryers there and to prepare for a “wing night” the following evening. She slid on the tile floor as she was carrying a tray of boiling grease and water and was injured. The evidence was that the floor was tile, located near a spot where oil spills were frequent, and the mats normally placed at that spot were missing. Defendant’s president testified that he always placed mats in the area for safety. The Plaintiff claimed that the missing mats gave constructive notice at least of a dangerous condition. Finally, there was a question of fact as to whether the slipperiness of the floor was open or obvious to someone walking that area.
The reason why this is an important decision is that in slip and fall cases we must show a company had notice of the problem condition and did nothing about it. Here the Court said the tile floor could create a dangerous condition because of the possibility of water spillage on the floor. Thus, the defendant should have been aware of that possibility and always placed mats on the floor. Slip and fall cases are difficult since the defendant has a built-in defense. They can say they didn’t have notice of the condition or that you should have been paying attention to where you were walking. There are several ways to get around those defenses but the sooner an attorney gets involved in collecting evidence and securing admissions, the better it is for your case.