Articles Posted in Car Injury Claims

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Last month, an appellate court in Connecticut issued a written opinion in a car accident case brought by an injured high school student and his parents against the school administrators at the teen’s school. In the case, Strycharz v. Cady, the court was tasked with determining whether the school’s administrative staff was protected from legal liability under governmental immunity. Ultimately, the court determined that most of the administrative staff was immune from legal liability, but a valid question existed regarding whether the assistant principals were protected.

Parking LotThe Facts of the Case

Strycharz was a student at Bacon Academy, a public school with bus service throughout the local community. On the day in question, Strycharz rode the bus to school but upon exiting the bus did not proceed directly into the building. Instead, he and a friend decided to go across the street to smoke a cigarette before beginning the school day. On his way across the street, Strycharz was struck by another student’s car. He suffered a serious injury as a result and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, the school administrators, and several other town officials.

Before the case reached trial, the school administrators asked the court to dismiss the case against them, based on the fact that they were government officials carrying out a discretionary duty. Specifically, they claimed that it was up to them to determine how to protect students coming to and from school, and since the duty was discretionary, government immunity attached, making them immune from legal liability. The court noted that all of the administrators except for the assistant principals had a discretionary duty and dismissed the case against those defendants. Regarding the assistant principals, the court held that there was a ministerial duty to ensure the safe travel of students to and from the school bus into the school, but the duty was fulfilled by the assistant principals’ actions.

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Late last month, the Supreme Court of Kentucky published their opinion in Nissan Motor Company v. Maddox. The case was surrounding a 2009 incident where the plaintiff and her then-husband were driving in their Nissan Pathfinder when they were hit by a drunk driver. The couple was wearing their seatbelts, but they both sustained injuries.

nissan-pathfinder-1466838 (1)The plaintiff’s husband sustained minor injuries to his foot. However, the plaintiff had to be extricated from her vehicle using emergency equipment and was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. She suffered several injuries, including damage to her vertebrae, hip, hip socket, ribs, and nerves, in addition to an abdomen rupture for which she had gastric bypass surgery. She ended up having to sustain 75 surgeries and 139 days in the hospital.

The woman filed a case against the driver’s estate and Nissan. She alleged that Nissan had a defectively designed restraint system and that they did not provide proper warnings about the car’s limitations. After a trial, it was determined that Nissan was 30% liable and the drunk driver was 70% liable. The jury found Nissan responsible for $2.6 million in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages.

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The Supreme Court of Texas recently published an opinion concerning a claim regarding liability in lawsuits involving sovereign immunity. In the case, Molina v. Alvarado, an individual sued a driver employed by a city for negligence and negligence per se, after the city employee allegedly caused an accident by hitting the individual’s car while intoxicated.

philadelphia-city-hall-797448-mThe plaintiff claimed that the city employee was operating the vehicle during the scope of his employment and that the City, through the driver, was responsible for the injuries sustained. After the City was sued, they asserted their privilege of sovereign immunity and argued that the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA) did not waive their immunity. The court agreed with the defendant and dismissed the City from the lawsuit.

After this decision, the plaintiff requested that the city provide a legal and factual basis for its immunity. However, that request was denied by the court. Additionally, the plaintiff added the driver as a defendant. The plaintiff then went on to include an alternate argument contending that, even if he wasn’t working within the scope of his employment, he was negligent in his individual capacity.

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In March of this year, Ford recalled over 200,000 Explorers after it was discovered that malfunctioning door latches could result in unanticipated opening during an accident. National reports indicate that after this recall the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the safety of other Ford vehicles. After the investigation, Ford ended up recalling an additional 600,000 vehicles, including Lincoln MKZs, Fusions, and Fiestas. Each of these models had various dangerous propensities.

motorway-1198014-mThe model years range from 2011-2014. Some of the issues surround faulty fuel pumps, which can cause the cars to unexpectedly stall; heating mechanisms not being installed on the parking light housing, which can result in a fire; and latch problems that can cause the doors to swing open during an accident.

Ford has conceded that these issues should be taken extremely seriously and that they can jeopardize the safety of individuals driving or traveling as a passenger in one of the listed vehicles. They have stated that owners can take their cars in to certified Ford dealerships to have the parts fixed at no cost to the owners.

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A FedEx truck driver was driving his 18-wheeler and two additional trailers when he swerved off the road after losing control of his vehicle. A local news report indicated that the driver was driving on I-75 in Monroe County when he lost control of his truck and crashed into the median.

fragile-parcel-1279274-mThe truck driver was not injured, but a passenger in the truck sustained injuries and was subsequently hospitalized. The accident caused a significant number of packages, most likely holiday gifts, to be thrown onto the highway. Many of the items included electronic devices and food items. Unfortunately, many of them were damaged in the accident. Police have reported that following the accident the debris on the road led to a series of other minor crashes. Fortunately, the accident did not result in any fatalities, and as of now no serious injuries have been reported.

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Over the course of the last year, GM has recalled approximately 2.6 million vehicles, mostly Cobalts and Ions, due to various dangerous manufacturing defects. Chief among these defects was a faulty ignition switch that caused the vehicles to stall while in operation, drastically increasing the chance of an accident. In addition, the faulty ignition switch interfered with the proper deployment of the airbag, meaning that in many of the crashes caused by the faulty switch, the airbag should have but didn’t deploy. In total, there have been 13 deaths attributed to the various GM recalls as well as over 55 accidents resulting in injury.

mountain-drive-1442174-m (1)Not surprisingly, the myriad of accidents caused by the defective autos have spurred a number of lawsuits, many of which have settled out of court for a significant amount of money. In one Georgia case, GM provided a settlement of $5 million to the family of a woman who was killed in an accident involving one of the defective vehicles.

However, to further complicate matters, a report recently came out indicating that GM knew about the defect when it settled the case. In response to this report, the family of the victim has refiled the suit, alleging that GM hid its knowledge of the defect when it settled the case.

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 Absurd Settlement Offers Cheat The Injured

Published on by: Norman Miller

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When you have been injured to the point that you need to file an injury claim for financial compensation you need to be treated with honesty and respect. Most people filing an injury claim are not trying to get rich, they simply need to be compensated for their medical expenses, lost wages and other financial losses. To the injured party it seems logical and fair but to an insurance company it means lost profits; no more, no less. In the process of settling an injury claim the injured party is too often the victim of a second injury – an absurd settlement offer.