Sisters Awarded Compensation for Boat Accident Injuries

Two sisters from New Jersey have been awarded $9.5 million compensation for boat accident injuries following a hearing at Bergen County Superior Court.

Gina and Jamie Franzino claimed compensation for boat accident injuries after the boat they were passengers in was hit by a much larger boat in the Manasquan Inlet in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Such was the force of the impact that the two women had to be cut from the wreckage of the boat, put into a coma, and airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center.

As a result of the accident, Gina (23) suffered a shattered pelvis, multiple spleen lacerations, a broken hip and broken ribs. She underwent a splenectomy – due to which her immune system has been compromised – and high dose radiation treatment after the surgery on her hip. Due to being exposed to radiation, Gina fears that she will never be able to have children.

Jamie (19) was treated for a collapsed right lung, three fractures of her pelvis, nerve damage to her left foot and an injury to her right shoulder. After her discharge from the medical center, Jamie also developed anosmia – the loss of her sense of smell. She attended the outpatients department of her local hospital and attended physiotherapy sessions for more than a year.

Along with several other passengers that had been injured in the incident, Gina and Jamie claimed compensation boat accident injuries against the Edward McCarthy – who had been in command of the boat that hit them – and his marine sales business. For the purpose of establishing liability, the claims were consolidated. In January 2016, McCarthy was found negligent in the operation of his vessel.

Once liability was determined, the claims for compensation for boat accident injuries were treated separately – with the exception of Jamie and Gina´s claims, which were heard recently by a jury at the Bergen County Superior Court before Judge Charles Powers Jr. At the hearing, the extent of the sisters´ injuries and their subsequent PTSD diagnoses were explained to the jury by an expert witness.

Lawyers represented McCarthy tried to play down the extent and the consequences of the women´s alleged injuries. They argued that both sisters had made full recoveries from the accident. However, after five hours of deliberations, the jury awarded Gina $5.1 million compensation for boat accident injuries and Jamie $3.9 million compensation. The jury also awarded Gina $500,000 towards her future medical costs.


Jury Increases Award of Compensation for Falling in a Hole Left by a Utility Company

A New Jersey jury has increased an award of compensation for falling in a hole left by a utility company after an arbitrated settlement was appealed.

In April 2012, the Jersey Central Power & Light Company (JCP&L) removed a broken pole from outside the Barnegat Township property owned by Nancy Jacobs. The removal of the pole left a four-inch by six-inch hole by the bottom of Nancy´s driveway that the utility company highlighted with iridescent paint and placed a warning cone over.

Over the next two months, grass grew around the hole – obscuring the painted area – and the warning cone vanished. Nancy´s partner considered the open hole to be a hazard, and he wrote to JCP&L complaining about the condition of the hole. The utility company did not reply or take any action to isolate or fill the hazard.

On June 18th 2012, Nancy was walking down the driveway outside her home, when she was diverted from the driveway by an operating sprinkler system. As she approached the curb, her right foot went into the hole – causing her to fall backwards in a twisting motion that resulted in a torn meniscus cartilage in her knee and the aggravation of an existing back condition.

After seeking legal advice, Nancy claimed compensation for falling in a hole left by a utility company. JCP&L denied liability and argued that – within the scope and extent of industry maintenance standards – the company had acted reasonable. Mandated arbitration led to Nancy being awarded $400,000 compensation for falling in a hole left by a utility company.

JCP&L appealed the arbitrated settlement and the case was heard by a jury at Ocean County Superior Court before Judge James Den Uyl. The jury determined that the value of Nancy´s claim was $650,000, but attributed her 20% comparative negligence as she had known for two months that the hole existed. Consequently Nancy will receive $520,000 compensation for falling in a hole left by a utility company.


Jury Awards $1.3 Million Compensation for a Trip and Fall Injury on a Cruise Ship

A jury in Florida has awarded a sixty-seven year old woman $1.3 million compensation for a trip and fall injury on a cruise ship on Christmas Eve 2014.

On the morning of 24th December 2014, Joan Higgs was a passenger on a Costa Cruise ship in the eastern Caribbean at Grand Turk when she tripped and fell over a bucket that had been left unattended in the dining area as she walked back from the ship’s breakfast buffet toward her daughter’s table.

As a result of her fall, Joan suffered injuries to her left arm and shoulder, including a broken elbow. She had to have twelve screws inserted to repair the broken elbow, additional surgery to heal the injury to her shoulder and six months of physiotherapy to regain the full facility of her arm.

After receiving treatment for her injuries, Joan claimed compensation for a trip and fall injury on a cruise ship against the owners of the Costa Cruise shipping line, Costa Crociere S.P.A. In her legal action, Joan alleged that there had been a failure to maintain the ship in a reasonably safe condition.

In support of her claim for compensation for a trip and fall injury on a cruise ship, Joan´s lawyer engaged the services of a maritime safety expert who gave the opinion that using cleaning buckets full of water violated cruise ship industry standards and that yellow hazard signs should have been placed beside the buckets to warn passengers of the risk of injury.

Costa Crociere S.P.A. denied liability for Joan´s injuries. The company argued that Joan could not prove that she tripped over a bucket nor identify exactly what had caused her fall. Lawyers for the defense claimed that Joan was the author of her own misfortune because she was not looking where she was going and that video surveillance proved she was overstating the extent of her ongoing pain and suffering.

The case went to the U.S. District Court, Southern District, in Fort Lauderdale, where a jury found in Joan´s favor. The jury awarded her $1,316,326 compensation for a trip and fall injury on a cruise ship – reducing the award by 15% to account for her comparative negligence.


Mom Agrees to Settlement of Compensation for a Child Falling Out of a Window

The mother of a girl, who fell from her third story bedroom, has agreed to a $5.5 million settlement of compensation for a child falling out of a window.

Rahniya Neal was just three years of age when, in December 2012, she fell from a third story unguarded bedroom window while playing on her bunk bed. Rahniya – from Philadelphia in Pennsylvania – fractured her skull in the fall and suffered brain damage. She was taken to hospital, where she underwent an emergency operation to relieve the pressure on her brain.

Rahniya has since returned to hospital for a second operation – this time to insert a prosthesis in order to fill the areas missing from her skull – and still needs speech, physical and occupational therapy sessions. It is debatable that she will ever be able to live an independent life as she grows older, and doctors are monitoring Rahniya´s progress closely.

Rahnisha Neal – Rahniya´s mother – claimed compensation for a child falling out of a window on her daughter´s behalf, alleging that the developer of the recently refurbished subsidized housing project, the owner, the contractor, architects and superintendent were all negligent for designing and constructing a property in which there was no alternative but to place a child´s bed next to an unguarded window,

The multiple defendants denied negligence and contested the claim for compensation for a child falling out of a window on the grounds that the building had not violated the city´s building code. The architects provided an alternate configuration of the room, showing how a child´s bed could be placed at a safe distance from the window, and it was argued that Rayniha had recovered well from her accident and was only showing mild cognitive defects that may be unrelated to her accident.

Despite the dispute over liability, the parties agreed to mediation. During the mediation, it was revealed that a jury could award as much as $22.5 million compensation for a child falling out of a window just for Rayniha´s potential loss of income. Worried about “significant juror sympathy”, the defendants made an offer of $5.5 million compensation – an offer that Rahniya´s mother agreed to on her lawyer´s advice.


Hearing of Compensation Claim for a Slip and Fall Injury in Lowes Begins

The hearing of a compensation claim for a slip and fall injury in Lowes has begun at the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court before Judge Ronald Israel.

The compensation claim for a slip and fall injury in Lowes was made by Kelly Hendrickson (38) from Las Vegas, who visited the Home Improvement Store on S. Fort Apache Road in July 2013 to shop for palm trees.

As Kelly was entering the garden center area of the store, she slipped on water on the concrete floor and fell. Kelly fractured her skull in the accident and sustained brain damage – due to which she has lost her senses of taste and smell.

Kelly sought legal advice and – after her lawyer had discovered thirty other slip and fall accidents in the company´s stores in the past five years – made a compensation claim for a slip and fall injury in Lowes.

Lowes denied all responsibility for Kelly´s injuries and argued that she should have watched where she was going as there was a four-foot-tall caution cone on the floor warning customers of the slip hazard.

As no resolution to the compensation claim for a slip and fall injury in Lowes could be negotiated, the case went to the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court where it was heard by a jury before Judge Ronald Israel.

At the hearing, lawyers representing Lowes claimed that the company had an excellent safety record in its stores and that the thirty previous slip and fall accidents were “one in a million” events.

Kelly´s lawyers told the jury that Lowes had been negligent by failing to provide a safe shopping experience for its customers, and also for erasing the video tapes from thirty CCTV cameras that were located within the S. Fort Apache Road store.

The hearing of the compensation claim for a slip and fall injury in Lowes continues, and is expected to carry on throughout next week.


Compensation for being Attacked by an Animal Upheld on Appeal

A settlement of compensation for being attacked by an animal – reduced 35% due to comparative negligence – has been upheld by the Missouri Court of Appeals.

In March 2013, Fernando the bull broke through a fence dividing his owner´s land and a heifer breeding center. Concerned for the safety of his livestock, the owner of the breeding center – Ronald Coble – drove his ATV at the bull to scare it away.

However, rather than being frightened by the ATV, Fernando attacked it and flipped it over, trapping Coble inside. The bull continued its attack on the upturned ATV, with Coble sustaining a serious back injury and torn cartilages in his knee.

Coble claimed compensation for being attacked by an animal against the bull´s owner – Robert Taylor – stating that Taylor was liable for his injuries as Fernando had trespassed on his land in breach of Section 272.030 of Missouri´s fencing laws.

Taylor contested the claim for compensation for being attacked by an animal on the grounds that he had personally not been negligent in allowing the bull to escape, and that Section 272.030 of the fencing laws only applied to fences that divided a property from a road rather a neighbor.

In December 2014 the case was heard by a jury at the Circuit Court of Green County. The jury found in Coble´s favor and awarded him $1.8 million compensation for being attacked by an animal, before reducing it 35% to account for his comparative negligence in driving the ATV directly at the bull.

Both Taylor and Coble appealed the decision – Taylor arguing that the jury was wrong to attribute him with strict liability, and Coble arguing that the Green County judge had been wrong to instruct the jury to consider comparative negligence.

However the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the verdict of the Green County jury. After reviewing the case, Judges Scott, Bates and Sheffield agreed that Taylor was strictly liable for Coble´s injuries and that the judge´s instructions to the jury were appropriate in the circumstances.


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.


Costco Injury Compensation Claim Resolved at Court Hearing

A jury has awarded a shopper more than $2.5 million compensation in settlement of her Costco injury compensation claim made after a slip and fall accident.

On 8 June 2011, Yvette Gastello (35) was walking into her local Costco at Van Nuys in Los Angeles, when she slipped on fluid outside of the store that had accumulated due to a subcontractor washing out a temporary porta potty stall.

Although she did not feel any immediate injury, Yvette started to experience pain in her lower back three days later. She visited a chiropractor and an acupuncturist, but her pain persisted and Yvette was ultimately referred for an MRI by her doctor.

Yvette was diagnosed with an aggravation of a pre-existing spondylosis condition in her lumbar vertebrae. She underwent anterior and posterior lumbar fusion surgery, and made a Costco injury compensation claim after learning that the surgery would have been unnecessary had she not been hurt in the slip and fall accident.

The claim against Costco and the sub-contractor who had been washing out the temporary porta potty stall was heard at the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, where the jury was told that both defendants were jointly negligent due to their failure to warn customers of the hazard and divert them away from the slippery area.

Defense lawyers argued that Yvette was the author of her own misfortune by failing to look where she was walking when she entered the store. As Yvette could not remember under questioning whether she had seen the subcontractor using a hose before or after she fell, defense lawyers argued that she might not have noticed any sign warning of the hazard either.

The jury found in Yvette´s favor, and awarded her $2,856,000 compensation in settlement of her Costco injury compensation claim – subsequently reducing the award by 10 percent to reflect her comparative negligence. 50 percent liability for Yvette´s injury was attributed to the subcontractor, with the remaining 40 percent liability attributed to Costco.


Woman Claims Compensation for an Accident at Dollywood

A woman is claiming compensation for an accident at Dollywood in which she suffered multiple injuries due to allegedly falling from an amusement ride.

In December 2014, Tedi Brown, her husband Derryl and five of the couple´s children visited the Dollywood amusement park in Tennessee. Despite the inclement weather, the family was assured that the Waltzing Swinger amusement – a revolving ride with individual seats ascending and tilting outwards 25 feet into the air – was safe to go on.

When she believed the ride was over, Tedi lifted the lap bar to exit her seat. However, she quickly realized that she was too far up in the air to exit safely; but, due to the wet conditions, Tedi lost her grip and fell ten feet head first onto the pavement below.

As a result of her fall, Tedi suffered a brain injury, a broken coccyx, a broken jaw torn ligaments and soft tissue injuries to her spine and neck. After Tedi had received medical treatment, Darryl sought legal advice and made a claim for compensation for an accident at Dollywood on his wife´s behalf.

In the legal action it is claimed that Dollywood failed to exercise due care by keeping the Waltzing Swinger operational during wintry weather “which rendered the seats and lap bars of that ride dangerously slick”. It is also alleged that the operators failed to warn Tedi against raising the lap bar until the ride was safely on the ground.

The owners of Dollywood – Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. and Dolly Parton Productions Inc. – have denied liability for Tedi´s injuries and moved to have the claim for compensation for an accident at Dollywood dismissed. They argue that the ride was safe to operate, that Tedi had to intentionally unlatch her lap bar to get off of her seat, and that she jumped at the end of the ride, rather than fell.

The claim is now waiting for a decision from the US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Knoxville.


Former Employee Awarded Compensation for Exposure to Benzene

A jury in Texas has awarded a man suffering from a variant of leukemia $8.2 million compensation for exposure to benzene contained in paints and thinners.

Between 1973 and 1996, Virgil Hood worked as a painter for Timpte Trailers – a manufacturer of semi-trailers – and Continental Airlines. Nearly every day during his working life, Virgil was exposed to benzene contained in paints and paint thinners, manufactured by E.I. Du Pont De Nemours (Du Pont).

In 2012 at age 57, Virgil was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) – a condition which effects the production of the blood cells, and which invariably deteriorates into acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Virgil has undergone chemotherapy for his condition and a bone marrow transplant. He has suffered three bouts of pneumonia and temporary blindness due to the side effects of the medication he has been given to prevent his body rejecting the new bone marrow.

Once the cause of his condition had been identified as the toxins contained in the Du Pont paint products, Virgil sought legal advice and claimed compensation for exposure to benzene – alleging in his legal action that Du Pont had been aware since 1938 that benzene exposure causes bone marrow disease, and that in 1954 the company actually advised other paint manufacturers to remove benzene from their products.

The claim for compensation for exposure to benzene went to the 160th Judicial District Court of Dallas County in Texas, where it was heard by a jury before the Honorable Jim Jordan. During the hearing, the jury was told that Du Pont had failed to warn about the carcinogenic effects of benzene and that, in 1975, it had actually misled OHSA about safe exposure levels for workers.

After a two-week hearing, the jury found in Virgil´s favor and awarded him $6.7 million compensation for exposure to benzene for his pain and suffering – liability for which was divided 80 percent Du Pont and 20 percent Timpte Trailers – and $1.5 million punitive damages against Du Pont.

Speaking after the award of compensation for exposure to benzene, one of Virgil´s legal team commented: “What is most gratifying to us about this verdict is the impact it will have not just for the Hood family, but for the thousands of other families in America affected by benzene-related MDS/AML. For decades, the manufacturers of benzene-contaminated products have attempted to deny their accountability for injuring hard-working Americans.”


Court Says No New Trial in Pedestrian Bus Accident Claim

The New York Supreme Court has refused plaintiffs in a pedestrian bus accident claim a new trial after a jury award of compensation was considered modest.

Leslie Lariviere (39) suffered a head injury on 9th December 2008 when she was hit on the head by a bus´s side view mirror as she crossed a street in Brooklyn. Leslie was taken to hospital by ambulance, where a CT scan failed to reveal any brain injury and she was diagnosed with concussion.

Told to go home and rest, Leslie experienced dizzy spells and feelings of nausea over the following weeks. In January 2009 she suffered a seizure and was hospitalized for four days. As she was often suffering headaches and migraines, Leslie was unable to return to her job as a restaurant hostess and became a recluse.

To recover compensation for her medical bills and loss of income, Leslie made a pedestrian bus accident claim against the New York City Transport Authority. She was granted a summary judgement on liability in 2011, and – after a failed appeal by the New York City Transport Authority – her pedestrian bus accident claim was heard at the New York Appellant Court for the assessment of damages.

At the Appellant Court, expert witnesses gave evidence that Leslie had a significant and ongoing brain injury. However, lawyers for the New York City Transit Authority argued that she was not being honest about her symptoms and persuaded the jury that Leslie´s injury was relatively minor and exaggerated by a pre-existing condition.

The jury awarded Leslie $152,000 compensation in settlement of her bus accident claim to account for her past pain and suffering as well as her medical bills and loss of income. Leslie´s husband, David, was also awarded compensation for the loss of services by his wife.

Leslie´s lawyers were unhappy with the award and entered a motion for a new hearing. They claimed that comments made by defense lawyers were prejudicial to the settlement of compensation awarded by the jury. However, the New York Supreme Court denied the motion – saying that in the context of the hearing, the comments had not denied Leslie a fair trial.


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.”


Injury Claim for a Slip in a Nevada Hotel Allowed to Proceed

The Nevada Supreme Court has allowed an injury claim for a slip in a Nevada Hotel to proceed after it was originally dismissed by a Nevada District Court.

On 9th October 2010, Sandra Biscay (79) was travelling with her family from California to visit her sister in Las Vegas. Rather than arrive at the sister´s residence late in the evening, Sandra and her family chose to book into the Gold Strike Hotel in Jean, NV, which would leave them a short journey to Las Vegas the following morning.

Due to her mature years, Sandra requested a suite that was suitable for the handicapped. When the family retired later that night, Sandra decided to take a shower; but, as she came out of the shower, she started to slip when she stepped onto the mat. Sandra reached out for something to hold onto, but the bathroom had no railing and she fell.

Initially, Sandra did not think that the slip and fall had caused her any injury; but, when her breathing was labored the following morning, Sandra reported the accident to the front desk, who summoned paramedics. The paramedics suggested that Sandra go to hospital, but as it was unlikely that the Las Vegas hospital would accept Sandra´s Californian insurance, she declined.

Instead Sandra filed an accident report and checked-out of the hotel to continue the journey to her sister. Because of the pain she was experiencing, Sandra was only able to stay in Las Vegas for two days, before returning to California. When she got home, she immediately visited her doctor, who diagnosed her with multiple rib fractures and a sprained shoulder.

After seeking legal advice, Sandra made an injury claim for a slip in a Nevada hotel against the owners of the Gold Strike Hotel – MGM Resorts International. In her legal action Sandra alleged that the disabled suite she had requested was not suit for purpose, and she supported her claim with the copy of the accident report on which a hotel employee had voluntarily added that the hotel was at fault.

As they were entitled to, MGM Resorts filed a demand for the security of costs in September 2012. Sandra did not file the security until March 2013, and nine days later MGM Resorts moved to have the injury claim for a slip in a Nevada hotel dismissed – alleging that Sandra had failed to file the security bond within thirty days of the demand notice contrary to NRS 18.130(4).

The Nevada District Court found in MGM Resorts favour and dismissed the injury claim for a slip in a Nevada hotel; but Sandra appealed the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court – who ruled that MGM Resorts´ motion to dismiss should have been denied, and that the District Court´s decision was an abuse of its discretion.

The injury claim for a slip in a Nevada hotel has now been returned to the District Court for a hearing to be scheduled later this year.


Man Settles Claim for the Loss of a Leg in a Construction Accident

A man has settled his claim for the loss of a leg in a construction accident just as the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed an order granting a new trial.

In the summer of 2009, Ruick Rolland from Delaware County in Pennsylvania was a contractor working for Senn Landscaping when the company was engaged to construct a replica of Augusta National Golf Course´s iconic Hogan Bridge over a pond at the home of Bruce Irrgang.

To assist with the construction work, Irrgang had arranged for the hire of a five-ton bulldozer through his company – United Construction Service Inc. – but, when the bulldozer was delivered to the construction site, the ten-year-old son of Steven Senn climbed into the cab and started operating it.

The driver who dropped off the bulldozer reported it to his supervisor – who opted not to ask any questions – and the young boy continued to drive around the estate in the bulldozer until he drove too close to Ruick and crushed the contractor´s left leg as he was working.

Ruick had to have the leg amputated, after which he sought legal advice and made a claim for the loss of a leg in a construction accident against Senn Landscaping, United Construction Services and Modern Equipment Sales and Renting Co – the company that had delivered the bulldozer and whose supervisor had not taken any action to prevent the ten-year-old boy from operating the machine.

A summary judgement was made in favor of Ruick, but a proposed $6 million offer of settlement was declined, and the claim for the loss of a leg in a construction accident was heard by a Delaware County jury in March 2013 for the assessment of damages only.

The jury awarded Ruick $18 million compensation and his wife $2 million for her loss of consortium, but the award was appealed by the defendants on the grounds that summary judgement was improvidently granted, a workers´ compensation file with information about the accident was excluded from the trial and that Ruick had been comparatively negligent by not stopping the boy from operating the bulldozer.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the appeal, and ordered that a new trial should be held to assess a more appropriate award of damages. However, before a new hearing date could be arranged, Ruick settled his claim for the loss of a leg in a construction accident for $12 million – $5.5 million of which will be paid by both United Construction Service Inc. and Modern Equipment Sales and Renting, with the remaining $1 million being paid by Senn Landscaping.


1,867 Dog Bite Injury Claims in California Last Year Recorded by Insurance Institute

According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 1,867 dog bite injury claims in California last year, more than 10% of the national total.

Cal. Civil Code §3342 makes dog owners who fail to control their pets and prevent them from biting members of the public strictly liable for dog bite injury claims in California, except in cases in which members of the public are trespassing on the owner´s land.

Unlike in some other States, there is no “one-free-bite” rule; where the dog owner is only liable for a dog bite injury if the owner is aware that their dog has an inclination to bite humans – i.e. the dog is known to have bitten somebody else already.

However, considering that a large percentage of all dogs kept as pets in the U.S. reside in the Golden State, it is actually surprising that there were “only” 1,867 dog bite injury claims in California last year out of a national total of 16,550.

The dog bite injury claims resulted in the payment of $62.8 million in compensation settlements in California in 2014 (the national total was $530.8 million) but, due to higher jury settlements elsewhere, the average settlement value was only slightly higher than the national average at $33,649 per claim.

Not included among the dog bite injury claims in California were dog attacks on postal carriers. Postal carriers injured while they are delivering mail can claim workers compensation for their injuries, rather than have to go through civil procedures to make dog bite injury claims in California.

The large number of successful dog bite injury claims in California paints a slightly misleading picture as the figure could be much higher. Courts in California have recently tended to dismiss dog bite injury claims that are not strongly supported by evidence of negligence and compensation has been denied to victims who are considered to have provoked a dog, caused an attack by their own negligence or assumed the risk of an attack by a dog.

Consequently, it is in your best possible interests to consult with a lawyer at the earliest possible moment if you or your child have been attacked by a dog and intend making dog bite injury claims in California.


Family Awarded $4.5 Million Compensation for a Bus Accident on Vacation

A judge has awarded a family from Pennsylvania more than $4.5 million compensation for a bus accident on vacation after the negligent party failed to enter a defense.

In October 2012, the Yuschak family from Dresher, Montgomery County PA, was staying at the Los Altos Beach Resort and Spa in Costa Rica. They decided to spend a day on the beach and boarded the resort-owned shuttle bus to take them there – a converted truck with a canvas roof and two horizontal benches for seats.

Access to the beach is via a twisting and turning downhill track and, as the bus approached the foot of the track, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed it into a tree – flipping the bus onto its side and sending the family flying from their seats to all be on the driver´s side of the vehicle..

The mother of the family – Susan – sustained a depressed fractured of the skull in the accident, while her daughter – Caitlyn – fractured bones in the lumbosacral region of her lower back. Her son – Eric – suffered ligament damage in his left knee, and her husband – James – fortunately suffered no physical injuries.

The family was taken to a local hospital where they received rudimentary treatment for their injuries before Susan was transferred to a regional care center. James took his two children back to Pennsylvania the following day, where Caitlyn received professional care for her back injury and Eric had to undergo surgery to repair his torn ligaments.

When Susan returned to the United States in December, she was diagnosed as having suffered traumatic brain injury. Susan was unable to return to her job as a part-time pharmacist due to her short-tem memory loss and other issues with her cognitive ability. She also suffered from depression and developed suicidal tendencies – affecting the marital relationship with her husband.

The family claimed compensation for a bus accident on vacation against the Los Altos Beach Resort and Spa, alleging that the converted truck was unfit for its purpose as a bus. In addition to claiming for the physical injuries that the family had suffered, James made a claim for the emotional trauma he had suffered and was still suffering as his marriage deteriorated.

The Los Altos Beach Resort and Spa failed to enter a defense against the claim for compensation for a bus accident on vacation, despite being in communication with the Yuschak family lawyer. Subsequently – at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania – Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg entered a default judgment against the resort and awarded Susan $3.4 million compensation for her pain and suffering and her future lost income.

Other awards of compensation for a bus accident on vacation were made to Caitlyn ($700,000) for her back injury; Eric ($700,000) for his ligament injury; and James ($150,000) for the emotional trauma he continues to suffer.


Compensation Claim for a Skiing Injury Resolved after Court Hearing

A compensation claim for a skiing injury – brought by a woman who was paralyzed in an accident on a beginner ski slope – has been resolved following a hearing at the Superior Court of Los Angeles County.

In March 2012, Leslie McLaughlin went skiing at the Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood, Southern California, with her friend James Tollins. For their fourth run of the day, the couple chose to ski down a beginner slope into Woodworth Gulch – a run which neither of the skiers had attempted before.

As the couple approached an uphill portion of the ski run, which extended across the width of the gulch and which Leslie believed was part of the natural terrain, she was suddenly launched into the air and fell backwards – landing on her upper back.

The impact of her fall caused Leslie to suffer a burst C6 vertebra, and she was airlifted to the Huntingdon Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, where she was diagnosed with multiple fractures of her neck and spine. Leslie spent six months at the Pasadena hospital, before undergoing three months of rehabilitation at the Craig Hospital in Denver.

As a result of the accident, Leslie is now a quadriplegic and is paralyzed from the chest down. Although she has use of her arms and hands, and is able to get around using a wheelchair, Leslie requires a substantial amount of care and she will never be able to work again in her profession as an equine veterinarian.

Leslie made a compensation claim for a skiing injury against the Mountain High Resort; alleging that the uphill portion of the ski run – which was actually a staging area intended for skiers and snowboarders to perform jumps – had “unreasonably increased the risks inherent in the sport of skiing” as it had been constructed across a beginner ski slope and was not signposted as a hazard.

The Mountain High Resort denied its liability for Leslie´s injuries – arguing that the “all-terrain features” throughout the park are well signposted and that, since this particular staging area had been constructed in 2004, almost 3 million visitors to the park had used the ski runs without sustaining a similar injury.

The compensation claim for a skiing injury claim went to the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, where lawyers on behalf of the resort produced a forensic witness who testified that Leslie had been skiing too fast in a designated “slow zone”. The expert gave evidence that Leslie had been travelling at between 39mph and 45 mph, and should have slowed down as she approached the uphill portion of the ski run until she had determined what it was and that it was safe to continue.

After a case lasting thirty-six days, the jury found in Leslie´s favor; but due to her comparative fault as described by the resort´s forensic expert, reduced a compensation settlement of $21,987,215 by 82 percent to account for the contribution Leslie had made to her own injuries – thus resolving the settlement of the compensation claim for a skiing injury for $3,957,698.


Supreme Court Rules in Dog Bite Injury Claim

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the defendant in a dog bite injury claim which claimed the owner of a property had responsibility for a dog that was not theirs.

The dog bite injury claim was made by Julie Augsburger who, on 21 June 2008, was bitten by her friend´s dogs when she visited her in the town of Larsen, Wisconsin. On arrival at her friend´s house, Julie was directed to the barn at the rear of the property by her friend´s husband; but as she entered the enclosed area at the rear of the house, Julie was bitten on both legs by four dogs that attacked her.

Julie suffer severe lacerations on each leg and made a dog bite injury claim against George Kontos – the owner of the property and father of her friend. In her legal action against Kontos, Julie claimed that he had an obligation to ensure the dogs were controlled as he was the owner of the property and thereby the “statutory owner” of the dogs as he was the one providing them with accommodation.

Kontos defended the claim made against him, and the case was first heard at the Fond du Lac County Circuit Court, where Judge Gary Sharpe found in Julie´s favor. Kontos appealed the verdict, but at the Appeal Court hearing, Judge Paul Reilly upheld the original decision – despite acknowledging that “hypertechnical application of the law” had gotten in the way of a common sense decision.

Kontos continued to defend against the dog bite injury claim and – with the support of his insurance company Homestead Mutual Insurance – took the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. At the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Judge Ann Walsh Bradley found in Kontos´ favor, ruling that:

“Kontos is not an “owner” under the statute. A statutory owner includes one who “owns, harbors or keeps a dog.” Wis. Stat. § 174.001(5). It is undisputed that Kontos did not legally own the dogs and did not “keep” them. Additionally, we conclude that he was not a harborer as evidenced by the totality of the circumstances. He neither lived in the same household as the dogs nor exercised control over the property on which the dogs were kept. Accordingly, we reverse the court of appeals decision.


Man Awarded Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Tree Branch

A man, who sustained multiple injuries when a rotted tree branch fell on his car, has been awarded $765,000 compensation for catastrophic injuries by a Columbia County jury.

Bill Kocher from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, was driving to work along the main road in the village of Lightstreet when, in July 2010, a branch separated from a rotted tree stem and crashed down on top of his car.

Bill spent sixteen days in intensive care receiving treatment for a series of catastrophic injuries which included a collapsed lung, a fractured sternum, a broken humerus and broken ribs. He had to undergo surgery to insert an intramedullary nail rod and skin grafts on his chest.

After his discharge from hospital, Bill sought legal advice and claimed compensation for catastrophic injuries against the owner of the property outside which the tree was located, and the township of Lightstreet – alleging that both had a duty of care to remove dangerous branches that posed a threat to public safety.

Both defendants denied their liability for Bill´s injuries. The homeowners stated that it was not their responsibility to maintain a tree outside of their property – the tree being situated between the sidewalk and the main road – and the township claiming that they had a responsibility to maintain the roads but not the trees that grew alongside them.

However, at Columbia County Court, the jury was told that the tree in question was located five feet away from the homeowner´s front porch and that they had conducted maintenance on it previously. The jury also heard that, under the township´s maintenance program, crews routinely removed dangerous branches that were a public hazard.

The jury found both defendants jointly liable for the injuries that Bill sustained, and awarded him $765,000 compensation for the catastrophic injuries he had suffered due to the defendants´ negligence – the second largest settlement of a personal injury claim to be awarded in Columbia County.


Lawyers Negotiate Settlement of Injury Claim for Slip in School Cafeteria

Lawyers have reached a negotiated settlement of an injury claim for a slip in a school cafeteria four days into a jury trial to determine liability.

Dawn DiSalvio was a cafeteria worker at the Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, when on 30 January 2008 she slipped on liquid which had allegedly leaked out from milk containers that had been delivered to the school that morning.

Dawn fell heavily and suffered a severe spinal cord injury for which she spent 73 days in hospital and received dozens of epidural steroid injections. She is confined to a wheelchair, still suffers chronic pain from her injury, and has been subsequently diagnosed with neurological impairments, incontinence and depression.

After seeking legal advice, Dawn made an injury claim for a slip in a school cafeteria against Cream-O-Land Dairy – the company responsible for the milk delivery – claiming that the dairy´s delivery driver failed to comply with industry standards for checking there was no leakage before leaving the premises.

Cream-O-Land Dairy denied their liability for Dawn´s injuries, arguing that no damaged packaging had been identified at the time of the accident or since, and contested that her fall could have been attributable to her prior medical history of morbid obesity, gait dysfunction and problems with her right knee; which could have given way as she was retrieving items from the walk-in refrigerator in which the milk had been placed.

As no acceptable agreement could be reached, a jury trial was scheduled to be heard in Philadelphia´s Court of Common Pleas before Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson. However, just four days into the hearing, lawyers announced that they had reached a negotiated settlement of Dawn´s injury claim for a slip in a school cafeteria for $6.5 million.

On hearing that a settlement had been agreed upon, Judge Massiah-Jackson dismissed the jury and closed the case.


Passenger to Receive $15 Million Compensation for a Back Injury on a Bus

A woman is to receive almost $15 million compensation for a back injury on a bus after the vehicle on which she was travelling went over a speed bump at twice the legal speed limit.

On 27 August 2011, Maria Francisco (20) from Richmond in California, her four-year-old daughter Mia and other members of her family were passengers on a bus operated by Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (“AC Transit”), traveling to the local mall to buy presents for a birthday celebration.

As the bus was passing a school zone, it hit a speed bump at 30mph – twice the legal speed limit – and Maria was pitched into the air, landing awkwardly against the edge of the plastic seat. Maria´s family asked the bus driver – Dollie Gilmore – to stop and summon an ambulance, but instead Gilmore verbally abused Maria and accused her of feigning her injury.

An ambulance was eventually called, and Maria was taken to the John Muir Medical Center where she was diagnosed with a severe burst fracture to her L1 vertebra. Maria has had to undergo three surgeries – including the fusion of her lower vertebra – still suffers from chronic pain and is severely limited in her daily activities.

After seeking legal advice, Maria made a claim for compensation for a back injury on a bus against AC Transit who – despite the presence of a CCTV camera in the bus clearly showing the accident and the verbal abuse that Maria endured subsequently – denied their liability for her injuries until two days before the claim for a back injury on a bus was scheduled to be heard before Hon. Gail Brewster Bereola at the Superior Court of California in Alameda County.

Maria´s attorneys recommended that she reject the proposed $2.75 million out-of-court settlement, and the trial went ahead – with AC Transit arguing that the extent of Maria´s back injury was exaggerated, that the surgery she underwent was unnecessary and that she was perfectly able to continue the normal life of a mother with a young child.

However the jury disagreed with AC Transit´s arguments and, after seeing the videotape of the accident, awarded Maria $10 million compensation for a back injury on a bus, with an additional $3.3 million for past and future medical expenses, $800,000 for future loss of earnings and $127,000 for past lost family services. The jury also awarded Maria´s four-year-old daughter Mia $1 million compensation for the emotional distress she had suffered relating to her mother´s accident.


Mediation Resolves Claim for Fatal Home Accident Compensation

A family has resolved their claim for fatal home accident compensation after insurers agreed to a settlement the day prior to jury selection.

On 27th January 2008, Khanh Toan Tran – a 40-year-old postal worker from Brooklyn in New York – was attempting to solder a pipe while renovating his kitchen; but, as he lit his blowtorch, the canister containing a stabilized mixture of methylacetylene and propadiene exploded, and Khanh was engulfed in a fireball.

Khanh was rushed to hospital with second and third degree burns over the unclothed area of his body where a coma was induced. He received extensive treatment including skin grafts while being kept alive by a respirator but unfortunately, Khanh did not come out of his coma and died thirty days later.

Khanh´s father – Huu Thien Tran – acting as the administrator of his son’s estate, sued the canister’s manufacturer Worthington Cylinder Corp, its parent company and the retailer that had sold the gas canister – Brooklyn-based 65/6 Economy Enterprises Inc – alleging that the canister was defectively designed, and that 65/6 Economy Enterprises was strictly liable for the canister igniting.

Tran Senior supported his claim for fatal home accident compensation with a metallurgist´s report that alleged the canister was weakened during the manufacturing process by phosphorus used to braze the canister; and that a relatively minor force at the retail store caused a crack to develop, which allowed the flammable gases to escape near the housing in the blowtorch when a source of ignition was close by.

The family´s claim for fatal home accident compensation sought damages that included $250,000 for past medical expenses, $4 million for future lost earnings and benefits, an unspecified amount of damages for Khanh´s pain and suffering and damages for his widow – Zhu Ai Chen. The family´s attorney also found evidence that twenty similar accidents had been caused by defects in the same brand of gas canister.

The defendants acknowledged that accidents had occurred before with the same brand of canister, but usually because the users had abused the canister beforehand. They noted that, at the time of the accident, Khanh had been bare-footed with tools strewn around the kitchen floor and that the autopsy into Khahn´s death had indentified fractures of his left ankle and his left foot – implying that he may have tripped and fallen, and caused the canister to rupture by his own misfortune.

The case was scheduled to be heard at the Kings County Supreme Court in New York, but the day before jury selection was due to begin, the claim for fatal home accident compensation was resolved in a mediated settlement that saw the defendants’ primary insurer agree to pay $2 million compensation, with a further $1.75 million agreed by the defendants’ excess insurer.


Judge Awards $2.8 Million Compensation for Slip in Restaurant Entrance

A judge at the Superior Court of Los Angeles County has awarded a young woman $2.8 million compensation for a slip in a restaurant entrance.

Justine Kirby (30) made a claim for a slip in a restaurant entrance after injuring her back in a fall at the El Indio Restaurant in Pacoima on 6 March 2010. Justine was taken to hospital by ambulance where she was diagnosed with lumbar disc bulges and had to undergo a course of nerve block injections to relieve her pain.

Justine had two back surgeries within six months of the accident and still suffers from back pain and mobility issues which prevent her from working. Justine´s physicians have informed her that she will need a lumbar laminectomy in the future, as well as ongoing treatment to manage the pain.

After seeking legal advice, Justine made an injury compensation claim for a slip in a restaurant entrance against the owner and manager of the restaurant; claiming that both had been negligent in failing to maintain the property to a safe standard. The defendants denied their responsibility for Justine´s injury, and argued that Justine´s accident had not occurred as she alleged and that she was exaggerating her level of injury.

The case went to the Superior Court of Los Angeles County in Van Nuys and was heard by Judge Bert Glennon Jr., who was told that the restaurant had a downward slope from the entrance patio which was open to the elements and paved with indoor floor tiles which had no slip resistance. The judge also heard evidence that the restaurant had previously been cited for health and building safety code violations – including one violation relating to the tiled flooring in the restaurant entrance which was never corrected.

Judge Glennon found in Justine´s favor; ruling that the two defendants could have avoided the accident from occurring by having floor mats at the entrance to the restaurant, overhead protection in the entrance area, and a handrail alongside the sloped entranceway. He awarded Justine $2.8 million in injury compensation for a slip in a restaurant entrance which was made up of $1,500,000 compensation for Justine´s personal injury, $973,000 for her lost earnings and $327,000 for the medical costs she had already incurred and those she was likely to face in the future.


Student Settles Injury Claim for Falling through a Skylight for $11.6 Million

A University of Pennsylvania student, who suffered devastating injuries in an off-campus accident, has settled her injury claim for falling through a skylight just days before the case was due to go to trial.

Lorna Bernhoft was just 20 years of age and a junior student at the University of Pennsylvania when, in October 2010, she attended an a cappella gathering at a student residence on South 42nd Street, Philadelphia. Later in the evening, Lorna moved up to a fourth storey attic room, where she went to sit on a board on the floor, not realizing that the board covered an open skylight.

As Lorna sat, the ¾ inch flex board slipped from underneath her, and Lorna fell fifteen feet through the open skylight, landing on her tailbone on the staircase below, and then continuing to fall down the stairs – hitting her head as she landed at the foot of the stairs. Lorna was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with a broken back and head injuries, and was kept alive with the help of a breathing tube and oxygen mask.

Unfortunately for Lorna, the accident resulted in her losing the use of her legs; and, although she recovered sufficiently to graduate from Stanford University and take a job in Boston, she is now confined to a wheelchair.

After being discharged from hospital, Lorna sought legal advice and made an injury claim for falling through a skylight against the owners of the property – Joseph, Irene and Jennifer Palmer, trading as Palmer Apartments – on the grounds that the Palmers were aware of the hazard and had done nothing to repair the condition of the floor where the skylight was situated.

The Palmers denied sole liability for Lorna´s injuries, and filed a joinder complaint against thirteen previous tenants of the property who – it was claimed – had failed to report the hazard to the property owners as was a condition of the lease agreement. Lorna´s injury claim for falling through a skylight was further complicated by the fact that, on arrival at hospital, she had a 0.26 blood alcohol level and marijuana in her system.

Lorna´s lawyers persevered through an extensive period of mediation in order to conclude the case without it having to go to trial and, after negotiations between Lorna´s lawyers, fourteen defendants and eleven insurance companies, a settlement was reached which will see Lorna´s injury claim for falling the a skylight resolved for $11.7 million.


Claim for Injury Compensation for Trip on Cracked Drainage Cover Settled

A sanitary service driver from Marin in San Rafael has been awarded $105,000 compensation for a trip on a cracked drainage cover after a disagreement over liability was settled.

Marc Green had just stepped down from his sanitary service vehicle in December 2011, when he tripped on a cracked drainage cover outside of Kovac Motors on East Francisco Boulevard, San Rafael, and fell heavily onto the sidewalk – sustaining injuries which prevented him from working for several weeks.

Marc made a workers claim for injury compensation for a trip on a cracked drainage cover against both Kovac Motors and the City of San Rafael; claiming that both parties had failed to properly install and maintain the drainage cover, and he supported his injury claim with pictures taken of the broken cover.

Both Kovac Motors and the City of San Rafael blamed each other for Marc´s injuries – each claiming that the other had the responsibility to maintain the drainage cover – until Marc´s worker compensation insurance company intervened and filed a lawsuit to recover the money they had already paid to Marc against both the automotive company and the City.

After a period of negotiation, the two defendants agreed to a 75/25 split of liability; which will see Kovac Motors´ public liability insurers paying $78,500 compensation for a trip on a cracked drainage cover and the balance paid by the City of San Rafael.

Speaking after the settlement had been agreed, a lawyer representing the City of San Rafael commented that the city´s position had remained unchanged, and that it still believed that the maintenance of the drainage cover was the responsibility of Kovac Motors; however, the City was prepared to settle its share of the claim in order to save ongoing legal expenses.

Almost two years after his accident, Marc has recovered from his injuries and returned to work


Changes to Personal Injury Claims Procedures will Speed up Compensation

Changes to personal injury claims procedures introduced on 1st August 2013 will speed up compensation settlements in claims with a value of up to £25,000.

The second of two changes to the Civil Procedure Rules took effect on 1st August 2013, and whereas the changes to the personal injury claims procedures in April of this year took away some of the benefits of making “Contingency Fee” compensation claims, the most recent changes should allow claimants to receive their compensation settlements within a shorter time frame.

The new procedures will see the length of time negligent parties and their insurance companies have to acknowledge “Letters of Claim” reduced to one day from twenty-one days, and the number of days available for them to conduct their own investigations into a claim reduced from ninety days to thirty days (forty days in the event of a compensation claim for an accident at work).

The aim of the new procedures is to reduce the costs of pursuing a claim for personal injury compensation when the value of the claim is less than £25,000 and when liability is not disputed. Any negligent party or insurance company who fails to adhere to these guidelines will not be able to take advantage of the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal and will face higher costs in defending the claim.

There are numerous exceptions to the new Civil Procedure Rules and there will be no change to the personal injury claims procedures in the following events:-

  • If an injury has been sustained due to the negligence of a private individual – for example if a homeowner has damaged the pavement outside their house over which you have tripped and fallen
  • If the injury which is being claimed for is an acquired disease either at work (for example COPD due to your working environment) or a place of public access (for example food poisoning in a restaurant)
  • If an injury has been sustained in an accident or scenario involving more than one party – for example a car accident in which more than one person was to blame
  • If an injury was sustained in an accident for which you were partly to blame or if your injury was exacerbated due to your own lack of care (also known as “Contributory Negligence”).
  • If a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition was due to medical negligence – either at a hospital or in private practice such as at the dentist
  • If you have developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos, or if you are claiming on behalf of an individual who has died due to mesothelioma cancer
  • If you have sustained an injury due to the negligence of a party who is uninsured, insolvent or untraceable – such as if you are injured in a hit and run accident.

The changes apply to injuries which have been sustained or diagnosed in England or Wales from 1st August onwards, and do not affect the length of time you have after an injury has been discovered in which to claim personal injury compensation – currently three years in the UK.

Should you require further information about how the changes to the personal injury claims procedures may affect you in your particular circumstances, you are advised to speak with a personal injury lawyer at the earliest opportunity.


Settlement of Injury Claim for a Powerboat Accident Approved in High Court

A teenage girl, who suffered devastating injuries when an inflatable ring she was riding in crashed into a moored boat, has had a settlement of her injury claim for a powerboat accident approved at the High Court.

Rebecca Coles (now 19) from Langdon Hills near Basildon in Essex sustained her injuries in an accident on the River Orwell in May 2008 when, as she was being towed on an inflatable rubber ring behind a powerboat, the driver of the boat swerved to avoid a yacht. The action of the powerboat driver swung the inflatable rubber ring around and smashed it into the side of another boat, causing Rebecca to sustain severe head injuries.

Rebecca was admitted to Addenbrooke´s Hospital in Cambridge, where she underwent several operations including one to have part of her skull removed and a titanium plate inserted. Doctors told Rebecca that because the part of the brain that controlled her movement was so badly damaged she would never walk again. Rebecca also suffered permanent damage to her peripheral vision and lost 40 percent hearing in her right ear because of her injuries.

Through her father – Steven Coles – Rebecca made an injury claim for a powerboat accident against the insurers of the boat´s driver and, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Teare heard that an agreement had been reached between the Coles´ family and the insurance company to settle the powerboat accident injury compensation claim for £1.37 million.

Mr Justice Teare was also told that, since her accident, Rebecca has undergone intensive physiotherapy and specialist rehabilitation at the Children´s Trust in Tadworth which enabled her to walk a mile in the 2010 London Marathon. Rebecca also achieved sufficiently high GCSE grades to study events management at college. Approving the settlement of the injury claim for a powerboat accident the judge wished Rebecca well for the future – both with her studies and her life after her studies.


Claim for Being Hit in the Eye by a Golf Ball Heard in Court of Sessions

The Court of Sessions in Edinburgh is currently hearing a claim for being hit in the eye by a golf ball, in which the claimant is alleging he was partially blinded due to the negligence of a golfer.

The claim was made by 70 year-old David McMahon of Leven in Fife, who was acting as a ball watcher during the Scottish Amateur Champion of Champions competition in April 2009 when a golf ball hit by Gavin Dear (28) of Scone in Perthshire struck him in the face. Mr McMahon suffered a traumatic rupture of the right eyeball resulting in blindness to the eye.

Mr McMahon gave evidence to Lord Jones at the Court of Sessions that he had been relocating a couple of spectators who had strayed from the path and was returning to his golf buggy when the accident happened.

Mr McMahon claims that no warning shout had been given and that Mr Dear should have been aware that he was in line between the rough from where the shot was played and the green of the sixth hole on the Leven Links course. It is alleged that, had the gofer taken reasonable care, Mr McMahon would not have been hit in the eye by the golf ball.

Gavin Dear denied the claim for being hit in the eye by a golf ball, stating in evidence that neither he nor the two men who accompanied him on the round of golf saw Mr McMahon or the alleged spectators.

Although he admitted to seeing a golf buggy, he proceeded to play his approach shot due to the absence of any activity in its vicinity. Mr Dear maintained that he acted at all times with reasonable care and that it was only after the ball was struck that Mr McMahon emerged without warning from behind the golf buggy.

The hearing before Lord Jones continues.


Claim for Assault Course Accident Resolved at the High Court

A claim for an assault course accident, in which a Hampshire scout leader fractured a vertebra in his back, has been resolved in the High Court for £167,514.

Robert Wilson (49) from Bordon in Hampshire made his claim for assault course accident compensation after sustaining an injury while leading his scout troop on the Challenge Valley assault course at the Clyne Farm Centre near Swansea in August 2009.

To get down from the “Burma Bridge” obstacle, Robert was required to descend a fireman´s pole despite voicing concerns for his safety in the wet conditions. His worries were justified, as he landed awkwardly at the base of the pole and fractured a vertebra in the base of his spine.

Robert was taken by helicopter to hospital where he underwent surgery. But, as Mrs Justice Swift heard at the High Court in London, his injury prevented him from driving his taxi or caring for his wheelchair-bound wife and four-year-old son.

After seeking legal advice, Robert made a claim for assault course accident compensation on the grounds that he had not been given proper instruction on how to safely descend the fireman´s pole and that the landing cushion had been compacted by the previous participants on the assault course.

Clyne Farm Centre denied their liability for Robert´s injuries, and alleged that Robert had removed his hand from the pole to “show off” to his scout troop. It was also claimed that a ladder was situated nearby in case a participant did not want to depart the “Burma Bridge” obstacle via the fireman´s pole.

After hearing evidence from both Robert and the instructor who was with him when the accident occurred, Mrs Justice Swift found in Robert´s favour and rejected claims made by the Clyne Farm Centre that “[Robert] was the author of his own misfortune”.

Awarding Robert £167,514 compensation in settlement of his claim for assault course accident, Mrs Justice Swift said she had no doubt that Robert “is a genuine hard-working man” who had devoted himself to the care of his wife and their four-year-old son.


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”.


Woman´s Compensation Claim for Shop Sign Injury Heard in Court

A woman, who sustained a blunt closed head injury when a store sign fell from its fascia and struck her, has resolved her compensation claim for a shop sign injury after a court hearing.

The woman – identified as Ms Benham (61) – brought her claim for shop sign injury against the tReds shoe shop in Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, after the fifteen feet metal store sign fell from its fascia and hit her on the head on October 2010.

In her action against the shoe store, Ms Benham claimed that she had suffered a head injury due to the company´s failure to establish or maintain any adequate system of regular inspection or maintenance of the sign, and also allege that she had developed a temporary anxiety disorder as a result of her accident.

The store denied liability for her injuries; claiming that regular inspections of the store sign took place. However, lawyers acting on behalf of Ms Benham discovered that the sign had fallen due to the deterioration of the fascia and that the rot in the wood could not have possibly been discovered by the company´s inspection of the sign, which was conducted from ground level.

tReds continued to contest Ms Benham´s compensation claim for shop sign injury and the claim was resolved only after a hearing at Bournemouth and Poole County Court. At the hearing, Judge Maston concluded that the onus was on tReds to prove that the dangerous condition of the sign could not have been discovered by a suitable inspection.

As tReds were in control of the premises and unable to establish that the accident had happened due to anything other than the sign “owing to want of repair”, the Judge found in favour of Ms Benham and awarded her £18,000 in settlement of her compensation claim for shop sign injury.


Abbey Road Residents Entitled to Claim Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Compensation

Residents of the Abbey Road Estate in Camden will now be able to claim carbon monoxide poisoning compensation after the property services company – whose actions caused seven residents to be hospitalised – were found guilty of negligence at the Central Criminal Court.

The news that those who suffered an injury in the incident will be entitled to claim carbon monoxide poisoning compensation comes following the successful prosecution of Apollo Property Services Group Limited by the Health Service executive in relation to refurbishment work done of the roof of the estate between February and March 2008.

It was found in the case against the company that Apollo Property Services Group Limited did not have a system in place to identify which of the roof-top boiler flues were still operational and continued the refurbishment work without any thought being given to the consequences of their negligence.

The company were also found to be in breach of section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc. at Work Act 1974 in regards to ensuring that workers engaged in the refurbishment work were made aware of safe working practices when in close proximity to boiler flues and warned of the possible risks. It was also discovered during the Health Service Executive´s investigation into the incident that no supervision was provided as the work commenced.

Judges at the Central Criminal Court in London´s Old Bailey fined Apollo Property Services Group Limited £165,000, ordered the company to pay £19,000 in compensation and £117,582 in costs. Residents of the Abbey Road Estate who suffered an illness related to blocked flues during the refurbishment work will now be entitled to claim carbon monoxide poisoning compensation against the company.


Compensation for an Accident in a Lift Awarded to Office Worker

An office worker, who sustained serious physical and psychological injuries after the lift she was travelling in fell twenty-three floors, has been awarded more than 13 million dollars in compensation for an accident in a lift.

Janice Beasley (41) from Jacksonville in Florida was alone in the lift when her ordeal began. Travelling down from her office, the lift she was in started to fall – stopping on the eighth floor of the building. An engineer was called to attend to the malfunction, but rather than remove Janice from the lift, he sent it falling all the way to the basement.

Janice suffered multiple bruising in her lift accident which developed into Complex Regional Pain Disorder (CRPS) and partial paralysis of her left leg. Janice was also diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to her experience and chronic depression due to her lack of mobility.

After seeking professional legal advice, Janice made a claim for accident in a lift compensation against the owners of the office block in which she worked – Highwoods Properties Inc – and the Schindler Elevator Company, who had dispatched the engineer to deal with the malfunction.

Schindler Elevator Company denied their liability for Janice´s injuries and delayed the progress of the case trial for several years with complex legal arguments; however after a two-week trial at the Duval County Courthouse, a jury found in Janice´s favour and awarded her 13,188,000 dollars in compensation for her accident in the lift.


Boys Sports Injury Claim for Compensation Resolved Out of Court

A twelve-year-old boy, who suffered life-changing injuries after being struck by a baseball, has had a boys sports injury claim for compensation resolved out of court for 14.5 million dollars.

The boy – Steven Domalewski (now 18) from Wayne in New Jersey – was playing as a pitcher in a Police Athletic League game in 2006, when the ball he had just thrown has hit back at him with such force that it knocked him over. As he lay on the ground, Steven went into cardiac arrest due to the location on his chest where the ball had hit him and it took 15 minutes for emergency services to resuscitate him – during which time he had suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen reaching his brain.

After seeking legal advice, Steven´s family made a boys sports injury claim for compensation against the manufacturers of the metal baseball bat which had been used in the game, the retail company who had sold it and Little League Baseball for sanctioning use of the high-performance bat in children´s games of baseball.

The family claimed that had a wooden bat been used, the ball would not have hit Steven with such force and his injuries would not have been so severe. They supported their claim with figures produced by Little League Baseball which showed an 80 percent decline in serious  injuries to pitchers when the performance of metal baseball bats was limited to that of their wooden equivalents in 2008.

The manufacturers of the baseball bat, the retail company who sold it and Little League Baseball each denied their liability for Steven´s injuries but, as a trial was about to commence at the State Superior Court in Passaic County, it was announced that a settlement of Steven´s boys sports injury claim had been reached and that he was to receive 14.5 million dollars to provide care and support for him during his adult years.


Compensation Fall Moving Walkway Awarded to Pensioner

A pensioner, who fell and broke her shoulder on a shopping centre travelator, has been awarded 30,000 Euros in compensation for fall on the moving walkway by a judge in Dublin.

At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard how Rosaleen Hill (79) of Terenure in Dublin had been returning to the underground parking lot of the Ashleaf Shopping Centre in Dublin, when the shopping trolley she was taking down to her car started to run away from her. As Rosaleen struggled to hold on to the shopping trolley, she fell and was dragged along the moving walkway – severely lacerating her knee and breaking her right shoulder in three places.

After receiving treatment for her injuries, Rosaleen sought legal advice and made a claim for fall on moving walkway compensation against the Ashleaf Shopping Centre, the company responsible for managing the shopping centre – Kessow Limited – and Dunnes Stores, the store in which she had been doing her shopping. Dunnes Stores denied their liability, claiming that the trolley which had been responsible for Rosaleen´s injuries was not one of theirs.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard testimony in court from a forensic engineer that the rogue trolley selected by Rosaleen from a shared shopping trolley area was fitted with smooth wheels and unsuitable for a downhill moving walkway. The forensic engineer explained that the type of shopping trolleys supplied by Dunnes Stores were fitted with corrugated rubber wheels which locked into the surface grooves on the moving walkway.

His evidence was supported by the testimony of the manufacturer which supplies Dunnes Stores with their shopping trolleys who explained to the court that their company had never supplied Dunnes Stores with the type of trolley responsible for Rosaleen´s accident. Judge Jacqueline Linnane determined that the likelihood was that Rosaleen had collected a trolley which had been deposited by shopfitters working at the store and dismissed the case against Dunnes Stores.

However, the judge found Gary Smith, trading as The Ashleaf Shopping Centre and Kessow Limited jointly negligent for failing to provide Rosaleen with a safe environment in which to shop and ordered them to pay Rosaleen 30,000 Euros in compensation for a fall on a moving walkway.


Compensation for Allergic Reaction to Eyebrow Wax Treatment Approved in Court

A 17-year-old girl has had a settlement of compensation for an allergic reaction to eyebrow wax approved in court.

The unnamed teenager suffered the allergic reaction after visiting the Crop Beauty Salon in October 2011 where, after her eyebrow treatment had finished, she continued to experience a burning sensation.

By the time the girl returned home her eyebrows had swollen and reddened and she had developed a headache. She attended the Accident and Emergency Department of her local hospital where she was diagnosed with a severe allergic reaction which continued for three weeks.

After seeking legal advice, the girl made a claim for an allergic reaction to eyebrow wax treatment against the salon, claiming that the salon was negligent in failing to ensure that a safe waxing product was used which would not result in an allergic reaction.

The Crop Beauty Salon admitted liability for the girl´s injuries and an out of court settlement of compensation for an allergic reaction to eyebrow wax treatment of 1,000 pounds was agreed. As the girl was still under the age of eighteen, the settlement had to be approved by a court before the allergic reaction to eyebrow wax treatment could be concluded.


Bank Accident Injury Compensation Claim Settled out of Court

A woman who sustained head, neck and shoulder injuries when part of the ceiling fell on her at her local bank has settled her bank accident injury compensation claim out of court for 1,500 pounds.

The unnamed 47 year old woman had been standing at the counter of her local Barclays Bank when a brick fell from the ceiling and struck her on the head. As she fell forward, more bricks and a light fitting fell from the ceiling – hitting the woman on the base of her neck and across the shoulders.

The woman suffered a laceration to her scalp, bruising and a minor head injury. Soreness in her shoulders restricted movement in her upper limbs and the woman suffered headaches and frequent nausea attacks over the next two weeks.

After seeking legal advice, the woman made a claim for bank accident injury compensation against Barclays Bank on the grounds that the bank had breached statutory duty in failing to ensure that the premises were adequately maintained and structurally safe.

Barclays admitted liability for the bank accident and a settlement of bank accident injury compensation amounting to 1,500 pounds was negotiated between the woman´s lawyers and Barclays public liability insurers without the need for the claim to be heard in court.


Trip Injury Award of £26,650

A teenage girl, who tripped on a faultily repaired step outside her home, has accepted an offer of a settlement for trip injury award from the city council amounting to £26,650.

Sarah O’Mahony (18) was just nine years old when the incident occurred in October 2002 outside of her residence. Walking up the concrete steps close by her home, Sarah tripped on a poorly repaired stair and fell – hitting her central incisors on a higher step and forcing the teeth back into her gum.

At court, the judge was told that Sarah’s original claim for compensation for tripping had been adjourned in 2006 because of a need to obtain further dental reports; however now the Injuries Board had examined her claim at £26,650 and City Council was in agreement with the figure.

The judge was advised by Sarah’s legal representative that she was also prepared to accept the assessment of trip injury compensation, and the judge agreed that it was in her best interests to accept the offer.


Wrongful Death by Shooting Settlement is £1.1m

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has ordered three defendants in a civil action to pay a total of £1.1m wrongful death by shooting settlement to the parents of a 21-year-old man who was shot and killed outside a San Francisco nightclub.

Justin Mendoza of Daly City, California, had just departed a hip-hop concert at Club Cocomo in San Francisco on March 21st 2005, when he was hit by a bullet that had been fired in a fight between two groups of youths who had attended the nightclub. The man died suddenly in the arms of a friend and, following a police investigation, the assailant was charged and convicted of murder.

Justin’s parents, Eduardo and Denise Mendoza, took a civil action against the club, the firm the club hired to do security and the owner of the premises, on the basis that the club and its security force failed to supervise the crowds or halt the violence that ensued.

They claimed in their action that Justin’s death could have been avoided with proper management of the situation, and they claimed that the three parties were responsible for the physical pain suffered by their son and the emotional trauma they have suffered, and will continue to experience, due to their son’s wrongful death.

Finding all the the parties negligent in the wrongful death by shooting compensation case of Justin Mendoza, the judge awarded his parents £1.1m, with the contribution from each defendant divided at 58 per cent (the club), 28 per cent (the security firm) and 14 per cent (the owner of the premises).


Highest Compensation for Whiplash in UK

The highest compensation for whiplash is in the UK claims James Dalton – Assistant Director of Motor and Liability for the Association of British Insurers.

Addressing the audience in Leeds at the 2011 Whiplash Conference, Mr. Dalton stated that three-quarters of personal injury claims in the UK are for whiplash injury, and insurers are paying out nearly two billion pounds each year for whiplash claims.

According to statistics released by the Association of British Insurers, approximately 1,200 claims for whiplash injury compensation are made every day in the UK – six times more than the claims received in a year from people claiming workplace injury compensation.

The Association of British Insurers estimate that the number of whiplash compensation claims adds an average of 74.00 pounds to British motorist’s insurance premiums and, in his speech, Mr. Dalton called on the government to quickly put in place their proposals on civil justice reform.

The alterations, claimed Mr. Dalton, would guarantee that genuine claimants received fair compensation and access to rehabilitation services more quickly, while the potential for fraudulent claims would be decreased.


City Council Pays Footpath Fall Injury Compensation

Nathan Clarke has won a legal action in the high court that means the city council pays sidewalk fall compensation to the order of £33,300 for alleged failure to clean broken glass from a public foothpath outside his home.

The incident occurred in 2001 when Nathan Clarke was seven years old and resulted in extensive injuries to his left hand that required surgery.

The legal action case was taken by Nathan’s father Joseph Clarke, who acted as next friend in the High Court case.

It was alleged in court that the City Council had not carried out its statutory duty to keep the foothpath clean and that the council was guilty of nuisance by allowing broken glass to accumulate on the pavement in an area used by children to play