When do You Have a Good Personal Injury Case?

Daily a lot of people get in different types of accidents where personal injury takes place. If you are involved in an accident, there are a couple of things that make any personal injury case a good one. How do you know it? Let’s find out!

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If your injury is a result of someone else’s negligence, this is already a big benefit to your case. This means that the other party is more at fault than you. The concept of negligence means any conduct that falls below the standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.

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Restrainig Order – Keep your Abuser Away from You

Restraining order or also called order of protection is a form of a legal injunction that requires a party to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts.

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A restraining order:

  • prohibits the abuser from contacting, attacking, striking, telephoning or disturbing the peace of the victim
  • forces the abuser to move from a residence shared with the victim
  • orders the abuser to stay at least 100 yards away from the victim, his or her place of residence and place of employment
  • orders the abuser to attend counselings
  • prohibits the abuser from purchasing a firearm
  • may also provide the safety of the children and others living in the home

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What Should You Do After Being Involved In An Accident

Car accidents are very stressful for each driver because they are unexpected and unpredictable. Even the best and the most careful driver may be involved in an auto accident.

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According to Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) 2.35 million of people get injured or disabled in road crash accidents in U.S. Road crashes cost $230.6 million per year.

If you got into an auto accident you should first collect evidence as to who caused the accident and what are the damages of it. The best solution for you could be taking pictures of the damages, because that would be an incontestable evidence.

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Kermit Gosnell: Accusation Of Illegal Late-term Abortions

A recent Wall Street Journal article written by Peter Loftus and Louise Radnofsky entitled: “Abortion Doctor Convicted of Murder in Baby Deaths”, reports that a Philadelphia abortion doctor was declared to be guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies born alive.

The hot abortion debate was caused by a horrible case of 2009 when Kermit Gosnell, 72 years old, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 sedation-overdose death of a 41-year-old woman during an abortion procedure. Dr. Gosnell was found not guilty on a third-degree-murder charge in the woman’s death, and he was acquitted of first-degree murder of a fourth baby.

Dr. Gosnell can get the death penalty when the jury will return next week to reach its verdict on his case.

Opponents and supporters of abortion rights have seized on Dr. Gosnell’s case. Antiabortion activists, accusing Dr. Gosnell of the violence in terminating pregnancies, believe the issue of late-term abortions could influence Americans who support abortion rights. They believe there are at least some instances in which abortion should be illegal.

Other opinion accuses restrictive laws in Pennsylvania and many other states, where women with low-income have few possibilities to obtain quality care they need. That is why “inexpensive” Dr. Gosnell became so popular for poor and desperate women, despite his practice could be illegal, unethical and unsafe.

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A Legal Look at a Strange Case that Altered American History

  

Because of the increasing threat of terrorism, the Supreme Court is revisiting Civil War and WWII era cases.

This renewed interest in historical cases will surely resurrect the saga of Dr. Samuel Mudd. While most every American knows that John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln as he watched a play on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, what is not as well known is what happened after Lincoln was shot. That remarkable – and lengthy – aftermath is recounted in [“Law Makers, Law Breakers and Uncommon Trials,”] by Robert and Marilyn Aitken, an intriguing book featuring 25 non-fiction stories about people whose actions helped form our legal system and our world.

Most historians know that Booth’s original plan was to kidnap Lincoln and exchange him for Confederate prisoners. But that scheme changed shortly before the shooting. Posing as a real estate investor – while in actuality picking out an escape route – Booth had visited Dr. Samuel Mudd’s farm, about 20 miles southeast of DC. Mudd was also a slave owner and a Confederate sympathizer. After the initial visit, Mudd met with Booth twice more.

Booth shot Lincoln and then broke his leg as he jumped from the balcony to the stage to escape. At 4:00 a.m., he and accomplice David Herold arrived at Mudd’s farmhouse. Awakened, Mudd cleaned and set the leg and had crutches built by his handyman. The two men slept at Mudd’s home and then departed.

In the days that followed the assassination, law officials scoured the country for co-conspirators. Was Mudd “a simple country doctor” who provided medical attention for a stranger as he claimed? Or was he a co-conspirator, whose name became synonymous with the widespread appellation, “His name is mud?” (While Samuel Mudd is often thought to be the origin of this phrase, its use was actually first reported in 1823.)

Within days, Mudd’s status changed from witness to suspect. Fueling suspicion, he delayed in reporting Booth’s early morning medical visit and gave inconsistent stories about his contacts with Booth in town, which he maintained were coincidences. Eventually, Mudd was arrested and tried with seven others, including Mary Surratt, owner of a boarding house where weapons were stored for Confederates. The charges: conspiracy to kill not just Lincoln, but also Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward, and lying in wait to kill both Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant.

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was determined to aggressively pursue the responsible parties. Breaking with precedent and at Stanton’s insistence, the defendants were tried before a military commission so the government could control the proceedings, even though civil courts were available and there was scant evidence the Confederacy was behind what would be a military crime: killing the commander in chief. It was a speedy trial.

On May 13, 1865, the trial began with 366 witnesses testifying. According to Aitken, “as in most civilian courts at that time, criminal defendants were not permitted to testify on their own behalf.” Just over a month later, on June 29, Mudd was convicted, escaping death by one vote. Not so lucky was Surratt, who became the first woman to be executed by the federal government. (The story of Mary Surratt will soon be told in a new motion picture directed by Robert Redford, http://www.conspiratorthemovie.com).

Mudd appealed, but began serving a life sentence in Fort Jefferson, on an island 70 miles west of Key West, Fla. Two months after his arrival, control of the prison was given to the 82nd U.S. Colored Infantry. Fearful of his treatment as a former slave owner, Mudd attempted to escape. Caught and thrown in the dungeon, he was released into the general prison population after three months.

In the fall of 1867, a yellow fever outbreak decimated the prison and the prison doctor died. Mudd agreed to take over the task, despite having yellow fever himself.  The soldiers subsequently wrote President Johnson, requesting a pardon for Mudd, saying, “He inspired the hopeless with courage and by his constant presence in the midst of danger and infection.”

On Feb. 12, 1869, Mudd was given an unconditional pardon for his heroic medical work by President Johnson, which mooted his appeal. He returned to Maryland, had several children, and became active in politics until his death in 1883 at age 49.

But the battle to clear his name had only begun in earnest and the issue of trying “enemy combatants” before military commissions is as fresh as today’s headlines.

Years later, Dr. Richard Mudd picked up the cause and began his enduring efforts – ultimately petitioning a series of presidents – to clear his grandfather’s name. In [Ex parte Milligan], 71 U.S. 2, (1866) the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the suspension of habeas corpus unconstitutional when civilian courts are still operating. In essence, the Court ruled that military tribunals could not try civilians in areas where civil courts were open, even during times of war, providing a legal basis for Mudd’s challenge.

Because of Richard Mudd’s efforts, in 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower had a plaque installed at Fort Jefferson, memorializing Mudd’s lifesaving efforts. Jimmy Carter also wrote that he was sympathetic, but the exclusive power of the president was the pardon, which had already been issued. Ronald Reagan wrote, “I came to believe as you do that Dr. Samuel Mudd was indeed innocent of any wrongdoing.”

In 1992, Reps. Steny Hoyer and Thomas Ewing introduced HB1885 to overturn the conviction, but it died in committee. That same year, Richard Mudd petitioned the Army Board for Correction of Military Records, which in turn recommended that the conviction be overturned on the basis that Mudd should have been tried by a civilian court, citing [Ex parte Milligan]. But the Assistant Secretary of the Army refused to accept the recommendation, saying the Army Board had no business settling historical disputes. Richard Mudd then petitioned the Secretary of the Army, who refused to reverse the decision, which led to a petition for mandamus in U.S. District Court. The District Court judge refused to reverse, but found that the Secretary had acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner and asked the Secretary to reconsider.

On March 6, 2000, the Secretary of the Army refused, saying the military commission had jurisdiction, citing [Ex parte Quirin] 317 U.S. 1 (1942). [Enemy belligerents who engage in hostilities in the United States, even if American citizens, can be tried by military commissions.] However, a year later, the court ruled the Army had acted properly, and [Ex Parte Milligan] did not apply to Mudd’s case.

In 2002, Richard Mudd died at age 101 – but his son, Thomas D, Mudd, persevered. He filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals, but it ruled that there was no standing because he was not in the military.

While the last legal battle ended in 2003 when the U.S. Supreme Court refused the case – stating that the deadline for filing a petition for writ of certiorari had passed – social media continues to fight for the saga of Samuel Mudd. Supporters launched a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Dr-Mudd/110856845612524), and there is also a museum that chronicles his story(www.somd.lib.md.us/MUSEUMS/Mudd.htm).

Yet have the legal challenges really ended? The Supreme Court will continue to examine these cases  due to issues arising from terrorist threats, particularly in light of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp cases. In fact, President Barack Obama just announced that trials before military tribunals will resume for detainees at Guantanamo.

With this in mind, it would not be surprising to see more of Samuel Mudd’s descendants emerge to continue the fight to clear the “mud” off of their notorious forebear’s name.

Thomas Penfield is a partner at San Diego-based Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield LLP.

Amusement Park Injury Factors and How NOT TO Turn Fun into Tragedy

The percentage of personal injury cases that have occurred in amusement parks and theme parks is much lower than most other personal injury related cases. However, amusement or theme park accidents can be extremely harmful and can result in fatality.

IAAPA and the National Safety Council (NSC) have carried out surveys of amusement ride injuries. They established a nationwide amusement ride injury reporting system for all facilities operating fixed-site, or permanently situated amusement rides in the United States. They produce a report each fall and analyze the previous year’s reporting data.

The statistics below are presented by the 2010 Fixed-Site Amusement Ride Injury Survey published in the fall of 2011.

  •  Approximately 290 million guests visit the 400 U.S. amusement parks annually and take 1.7 billion safe rides.
  • The chance of being seriously injured on a ride at a fixed-site park in the U.S. is 1 in 24 million.

  • 59 of the 1,207 ride-related injuries, or less than 5 percent, required some form of overnight treatment at a hospital.

 The 2010 Fixed-Site Amusement Ride Injury Survey presents the proportion of injuries by ride-type, U.S., 2003 – 2010

Figure 1 shows that the percentage of injuries by ride type varies every year. However, Family and Adult Rides compose the highest percent of injuries. 52.1% of the injuries in 2010 occurred on family and adult rides, 54.0% in 2009, 61.6% in 2008 and 58.0% in 2007. The number of injuries in 2010 was down except for 2004.

Roller coasters accounted for 35.9% of the injuries in 2010 which is more than in any other year except for 2004.

After increasing nearly 5% from 2008 to 2009, the proportion of injuries associated with children’s rides declined over 3% from 2009 to 2010.

What are the main factors that contribute in amusement park ride injuries?

Elvie Vinn, the author of the article entitled “Main Factors That Contribute In Amusement Park Ride Injuries”, enumerates the following factors:

  • Mechanical Failures, such as broken or missing components, safety features that do not function correctly, and unexpected detachment of rides and other structures. This factor leads to Product Liability injuries and sometimes to Wrongful Death.

  • Individual Behavior – Operators should never be Negligent and fail to check ride’s proper operation and likewise, visitors should obey rules to make sure that they will not be a threat to safety.

  • Design Errors and Dangerous Premises which include lack of lighting, broken stairs, gaps in pavement and parking lot conditions.

What should be done if an accident occurred?

William D. Kickham, an attorney and the author of the article entitled “Massachusetts Amusement Park Injuries: Top Tips on Staying Safe: Part Two of Two” suggests the same types of cautionary measures that one would employ in the aftermath of a car accident.

  • Take photos of the injured person with your cell phone or camera.

  • On a piece of paper, note the time, the ride, any witnesses, and the name of the operator ride.

  • If the injured person is put in a brace or carried on a stretcher, take pictures of that as well.

  • Speak to an experienced accident attorney who is familiar with all aspects of personal injury.

Who is responsible for the damages or injuries you suffered?

William D. Kickam claims that the owner or operator or management team who manages the amusement park is liable for the damages and injuries. The owners have a legal responsibility to make sure that their park is kept in a safe condition. Almost in all cases a liability insurance companies pay out damages. However, they do not pay out damages easily, so it is better to be represented by an amusement park injury lawyer who has an experience in his field of expertise.

How to avoid injuries at amusement parks?

The attorney William D. Kickham describes some tips on how to stay safe at amusement parks:

  • Ask your state inspections department for the park’s safety record, before you patronize the park.

  • Inspect the park.

  • Read the warning signs. All major rides have restrictions on a person’s age, height and weight. Do not ignore them, especially if you have a specific medical condition that the ride warns you about – for example, back problems, or are subject to seizures.

  • Assess the conduct of the ride operator. The operator should, at all times, be paying attention to the ride and its riders.

  • Assess the ride’s appearance. If the ride is rusty, poorly lit, or cluttered with litter, you should not risk your life on it.

  • Be alert of riders.

  • Don’t force children to go on rides if they are scared.

  • Adhere to the park rules – wear your seat belts, use the lap bars, chains and harnesses.

In conclusion, amusement and theme parks are fun, just be always cautious and do not get injured on the rides.