Cyclist´s Broken Hip Compensation Settlement Upheld on Appeal

A cyclist´s $439,000 broken hip compensation settlement – originally awarded by a jury in 2013 – has been upheld by the Oregon Court of Appeals.

On 6th August 2011, John Currier was cycling in the Lloyd District of Portland, when he had to take evasive action to avoid a car that was waiting to pull out from the Washman car wash on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, and was blocking both the cycle lane and the sidewalk.

Rather than pull out from the cycle lane into the heavy traffic, John cycled around the rear of the vehicle and onto the forecourt of the car wash. Unfortunately the forecourt of the car wash was particularly slippery and John fell from his bike – breaking his hip and suffering a serious elbow injury.

John claimed compensation from Washman LLC for his injuries, and in 2013 an Oregon jury awarded him $439,000 compensation after finding that the driver of the car – Dorothy Williams – had done nothing wrong, and that John was 30% responsible for his injuries due to his comparative negligence.

Washman LLC appealed the broken hip compensation settlement on the grounds that, by choosing to cycle onto the forecourt of the car wash, John was effectively trespassing. Lawyers for the company argued that it was not established at the original hearing that John had any right to be on the property.

At the Appeals Court hearing, the panel of judges heard John´s lawyer argue that it was “community custom” for cyclists and walkers to cross the parking lots and driveways of businesses — and to assume they were allowed to do so.

The panel of judges agreed with John´s lawyer and upheld the jury´s broken hip compensation settlement. Presiding Judge Timothy Sercombe told the court that despite Washman LLC´s arguments, John was not trespassing and the car wash had a duty of care to keep its pavement safe.


Woman Settles Compensation Claim for a Trip and Fall at Dunkin Donuts

A woman, who suffered serious burn injuries from hot coffee that spilled on her, has settled her claim for a trip and fall at Dunkin Donuts for $522,000.

Early in the morning of 19th January 2012, Maria Marsala was walking through the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts store in Highland Park, New Jersey, when she tripped and fell over a dislodged curb stop in the restaurant parking lot. As she fell, the cups of hot coffee she was carrying spilled over her – causing substantial scalding to her face and neck.

Maria was treated at the scene of the accident by the Highland Park First Aid Squad for the cuts and bruises she had sustained in her accident, and then taken to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for further treatment on her burn injuries. When she was discharged, Maria sought legal advice and made a compensation claim for a trip and fall at Dunkin Donuts.

In her claim against Dunkin Donuts, the franchisee who ran the Highland Park restaurant, and the owner of the mall in which the Dunkin Donuts store was located, Maria claimed that the three defendants had failed in their duty of care to maintain the parking lot in a safe condition. The three defendants denied their liability for Maria´s injuries, and a court date was set for the case to be heard at Middlesex County Superior Court.

However, prior to the hearing, Ed Rebenack – Maria´s attorney – announced that the compensation claim for a trip and fall at Dunkin Donuts had been settled out of court for $522,000. Rebenack said: “Ms. Marsala is hopeful that the settlement will serve to remind business owners that their customer’s safety should always be a priority. Basic property maintenance would have saved Ms. Marsala from years of debilitating injuries.”


Families Awarded Compensation for Restaurant´s Failure to Provide Safe Environment

The families of two teenagers, who died after an attack in a McDonalds parking lot, have been awarded $27 million compensation for a restaurant´s failure to provide a safe environment.    

In February 2012, Denton James Ward (18) of Flower Mound, Texas, and his girlfriend Lauren Bailey Crisp (19) of Dripping Springs in Texas visited the McDonalds restaurant in College Station. As the couple walked through the McDonalds parking lot, Denton was viciously attacked by a group of 15-20 youths who kicked him and stomped on him while he was lying on the ground.

Denton possibly died from his injuries sustained in the parking lot attack, but Lauren tried to save his life by putting him into her vehicle and driving to the nearest hospital. However, while she was on the way to the hospital, Lauren ran a red light and was hit by a pick-up truck – an accident which resulted in her death.

The families of the two teenage victims made a claim against McDonalds for compensation for the restaurant´s failure to provide a safe environment on the grounds that the College Station branch of McDonalds had a history of late-night trouble, but the restaurant had failed to employ security guards or install CCTV to monitor disturbances and identify those responsible.

McDonalds denied their liability for the two deaths – arguing that there was no evidence to prove that either teenager had died on their premises – and the case proceeded to 361st District Court in Bryan, Texas, where before Judge Steve Smith and a jury, the families of the two victims produced evidence that local police had been called to the restaurant on more than twenty occasions during 2012 to break up fights.

Despite the evidence to the contrary – and one of the attackers being identified and sentenced to 90 days for assault – two McDonalds managers who were working on the night in question testified that they had never been aware of any violence at the restaurant. Despite their claims that the restaurant was a safe environment, the jury found in the two families favor, and awarded the family of Lauren Crisp $11 million compensation for the restaurant´s failure to provide a safe environment, and the family of Denton Ward $16 million.

It is anticipated that McDonalds will appeal the verdict of the jury.


Court Upholds Jury Award of Compensation for a Las Vegas Parking Lot Injury

The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld a 2011 verdict by a Clarke County jury, which awarded more than $1 million compensation for a Las Vegas parking lot injury to the family of a man who later died of his injuries.

In June 2004, retired Air Force Major Michael Born (51) was attacked in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Wal-Mart by Raymond Garrett while attempting to change the headlight on his car. Born was knocked to the ground by the much larger Garrett, who robbed the retired Major of his wallet and then fled the scene.

Born was rushed to hospital in a coma after striking his head heavily on the ground when he fell. He died two weeks later from his injuries. Raymond Garrett – who was out on bail awaiting an attempted murder trial at the time of the attack – was subsequently convicted of murder and given a life sentence.

Born´s widow and his two daughters made a claim for compensation for the Las Vegas parking lot injury against Wal-Mart and their security company Wackenhut and, in February 2011, a Clarke County jury found the security company 100% liable for failing to protect Major Born from the attack and his untimely death.

The jury awarded each of Major Born´s widow and each of his two daughters $250,000 compensation for a Las Vegas parking lot injury and ordered that a further $276,000 be paid to Major Born´s estate. Wal-Mart was cleared of any negligence, having paid Wackenhut to provide security and deter crime on their premises.

Wackenhut appealed the jury verdict on the grounds that the attack on Major Born was unavoidable as the unarmed Wackenhut offices are trained to observe and report, but not intervene. District Judge Mark Denton refused the request for a new trial and Wackenhut appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court.

At the Nevada Supreme Court, Judges Gibbons, Douglas and Saitta found that a new trial was unwarranted, and upheld the original jury decision to award Major Born´s family more than $1 million compensation for a Las Vegas parking lot injury.


Man Receives Compensation for Back Injury in a Car Crash

An electrician, who suffered debilitating injuries when his pick-up was rear-ended, has been awarded $665,000 in compensation for a back injury in a car crash.

Peter Kilian (41) from Staten Island, New York, was sitting in his employer´s parked pick-up truck on Hylan Boulevard at Tompkins Avenue when, on February 17th 2011, he was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Lillian Perez of Clifton New York.

Peter suffered neck and back injuries as a result of the accident, and damage to his shoulder which required surgery to correct. His accident came just months after he started working again following a back injury at work, and the additional damage he suffered to his back on this occasion has prevented him from working since.

Peter made a claim for compensation for a back injury in a car crash against the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended him, but Lillian Perez was only covered for personal injury up to $50,000, and her insurance company declined to pay more than the policy ceiling.

After seeking legal advice, Peter discovered that he was able to claim compensation from his employer -Daidone Electric of Jersey City – as a statute exists in New York that allows an injured party to claim compensation from the insurer of the vehicle in which the injury occurred when reasonable damages exceed the liable party’s insurance limits.

Fortunately Peter´s lawyer was able to negotiate a suitable settlement of compensation for a back injury in a car crash from the employer´s insurers amounting to $615,000, which together with the compensation payout from Lillian Perez´ insurers meant that Peter received a total of $665,000.


Stately Home Injury Compensation Awarded to Man for Fall on Grounds

A man, who badly fractured his ankle after a fall into a landscaping feature intended to stop animals roaming into the grounds of Hopetoun House, has been awarded £8,750 stately home injury compensation at the Court of Sessions in Edinburgh.

John Cowan from Livingston, West Lothian, had been visiting the historic building with his five-year-old grandson Ross on an organised tour during which visitors look for bats in the grounds of Hopetoun House while armed only with torches. It was as John and his grandson were making their way back to the parking lot that John stepped over the landscaping feature – known as a “ha-ha” – and fell five feet into the trench below, fracturing his ankle.

As John had recently undergone an operation for thyroid cancer, he was unable to shout for help and it was only when his grandson caught the attention of a passer-by that medical assistance was summoned. As a result of his fall on the grounds of Hopetoun House, John had to undergo a series of operations on his ankle; after which he sought legal advice about making a claim for stately home injury compensation.

The Hopetoun House Preservation Trust disputed John´s stately home injury compensation claim, stating that all the visitors to the historic house had been given instructions on how to safely return to their vehicles at the conclusion of the tour. John said he had not heard the ranger issue instructions, as he had taken his grandson to the bathroom at the time.

At the Court of Sessions, Lord Bracadale found in John´s favour, but reduced a proposed settlement of £35,000 by 75 percent to reflect John´s contributory negligence. He said “I find that the pursuer (Mr Cowan) did not hear these directions, no doubt because he was engaged in attending to the needs of Ross, and ended up walking in the dark on a route that would inevitably take him to the ha-ha at a point where there was a drop of about 5ft”.


Three New Claims for Shopping Centre Car Park Injury at Highcross

Three new claims for shopping centre parking lot injury at Highcross Shopping Centre in Leicester have been made following a successful claim for an injury sustained on the access bridge from the parking lot late last year and compensation for slipping and breaking an ankle being awarded to another shopper just a few weeks ago.

In December 2011, Gweneth Bowler (64) from Quorn in Leicestershire successfully sued Highcross Shopping Centre after fracturing her hip and shoulder on a shopping trip to the complex with her daughter, and earlier this month an unnamed shopper was awarded 3,700 pounds after slipping and breaking her ankle on the same access bridge from the shopping centre parking lot.

Now three more claims for shopping centre parking lot injury have come to light – the most serious involving a forty-year-old woman who slipped and broke her femur in the parking area and required emergency surgery. Claims for shopping centre parking lot injury can be made up to three years after an accident has occurred and this may not be the end of the claims against the shopping centre despite improvements being made.

A Leicester City Council official had testified in Gweneth Bowler´s claim for compensation against the shopping centre that poor drainage – both on the bridge and in the parking lot – represented a serious slip hazard. He also pointed to a lack of adequate cleaning presenting further risk of injury and, although the council´s recommendations were listened to, anybody visiting the shopping complex in the past three years who has sustained an injury attributable to the previous lack of care by the shopping centre management is still entitled to claim shopping centre parking lot injury compensation.


Woman´s Beach Injury Compensation Claim Settled in Court

A woman, who sustained serious injuries when run over by a car while on Dublin´s popular Dollymount Beach, has been awarded 79,000 Euros in respect of her beach injury compensation claim by a High Court judge in Dublin.

Siofra O´Loughlin (24) from Rolestown in Dublin had been playing on the extensive Dollymount Beach with friends in July 2006, when she slipped on the wet sand and fell. As Siofra lay face down in the sand, a car reversed back and over her – causing abrasions to her back and breaking the humerus bone in her arm. After briefly stopping a short distance away, the driver of the car left the scene without acknowledging the accident.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill heard that both an ambulance and the police attended the scene, but the driver responsible for Siofra´s injuries was never traced. After undergoing surgery for her arm when the broken bone failed to heal properly, Siofra made a beach injury compensation claim against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland – the body responsible for paying accident injury compensation to the victims of injury for which an uninsured or untraceable driver is liable.

The Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland contested the beach injury compensation claim – alleging that Siofra had given an alternate version of events to police when they first arrived at the scene of the accident. However, having heard Siofra´s testimony and that of her friends, Mr Justice O´Neill judged that Siofra had been an accurate and honest witness and awarded her 79,000 Euros in compensation and the costs of pursuing her beach injury compensation claim.


Brain Injury Case settled at £5.9m

Valerie Bourke (26) who was left irreparably brain damaged after her car was involved in a collision with a truck, has had a £5.9m compensation package approved following her brain injury case in the High Court.

Ms Bourke had just turned 21 in May 2006, when the red Nissan Micra she was driving on the road between Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford was struck by a truck driven by Patrick Holden.

Valerie was taken to hospital suffering from catastrophic brain damage. She remained there until the following April, during which time she was unable to speak, required twenty four hour assistance and was fed via a tube.

She was then transferred to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dublin and six months later moved to a neuro-rehabilitation centre in the UK for further assessment of her needs. It was not until December 2008 – almost two and a half years after the accident – that she was able to return home.

Valerie’s parents built a special extension to their family home in order to accommodate her special needs but, although she (valerie) made a little progress with her mobility and cognitive functions, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill at the High Court heard that prospects for her future remained limited.

In an action against Patrick Holden and the owner of the truck – Stefan Gilchrist – it was alleged that their negligence was responsible for Valerie´s injuries. Liability was admitted and the case was heard before Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill for assessment of damages only.

Announcing the award of just over £5.9m, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill said that £3.4m was to be put away for Valerie´s future care and that an application was to be made to have Valerie made a ward of court.


Car crash leads to £4 million brain damage injury claim

Ms Caroline Bogue was awarded £4 million in the High Court following a car accident which led to her brain injury claim.

Upon making the award, Mr Justice John Quirke claimed that he was dissatisfied with the system of compensation settlements when awarding more than £4 million to Ms Bogue of Belturbet, County Cavan, following an agreement between the claimant and the joint defendants – her cousin Ciaran Bogue and the Motor Insurance Board of Ireland (MIBI).

Justice Quirke stated that the money would be gone within 10 years and was critical at the lack of staged payments for awards of personal injury compensation and commented that the value of the settlement represented just 60% of what the claim was worth. His comments follow the case of Caroline, who suffered severe brain damage when an uninsured vehicle, driven by the defendants brother, crashed into a tree just outside of her home town of Belturbet in May 2003. Despite wearing her seatbelt, Caroline – who was aged just 17 at the time of the incident – was admitted to Cavan Hospital where a CT scan of her brain showed she had suffered major haemorrhaging.

Now 24, Caroline needs assistance for daily living and feeding herself due to the injuries she suffered in the accident. She also experiences difficulty in sleeping, has poor short-term memory and slow speech. Caroline will need permanent care for the rest of her life, and Mr Justice John Quirke is concerned that the settlement is insufficient for her lifetime and that she will become reliant on the State.

As it was alleged by the counsel for the defence that Caroline knew that the car in which she was travelling was uninsured, Mr Justice John Quirke accepted that there was a risk that the claimant might be awarded less compensation if the case went to a full hearing, and was guided by Caroline´s counsel. However, he stated that he was unhappy that he had to approve “a settlement so utterly speculative and imprecise from Caroline’s point of view”. A new system, which is due to be introduced in the next 18 months time, will provide for continual payments over the period of the victim’s life.