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March 2016 Archives

One sled dog killed, many injured after collision with snowmobile

A snowmobiler has been charged with assault, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief after driving his snowmobile into two sled dog teams during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The man, 26-year-old Arnold Demoski, claims the incident was an accident, and that he had been driving his snowmobile after a night of drinking. One of the sled team's drivers, Aliy Zirkle, claims that Demoski had circled around several times and driven his machine at her sled multiple times before driving off. One dog is dead and two are seriously injured as a result of the collisions. 

Can you file a wrongful death lawsuit for a suicide?

When someone dies because of someone else's negligence, that deceased person's loved ones may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent parties that caused that death. Often this scenario unfolds in the context of an accident, like a car accident, a construction accident, or another type of incident that could have been preventable but for the careless actions of the party being sued. But what about when a person commits suicide? When someone kills themselves, can another person or entity really be held liable?

Youth football league settles case with family of deceased player

In 2012, 25-year-old Joseph Chernach committed suicide. He had been a football player in high school and also for Pop Warner, a youth football league. Chernach's  family brought a lawsuit against Pop Warner after Chernach was found posthumously to have had a brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has been linked to football or other sports where participants regularly experience blows to the head.

Vehicles must allow buffer space when passing cyclists

With spring on its way, there are soon likely to be more bicycles on the road, which could mean an increase in bicycle accidents, too. Drivers aren't always happy about having to share the road with bicycles. But there are laws in place to help protect bicyclists from passing cars. 

Families of Sandy Hook victims fight gun manufacturer in court

Families of some children and adults killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre are fighting in court for the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against Freedom Group, the parent company of Bushmaster Firearms. The gun manufacturer is the one that manufactured the AR-15 rifle used in the elementary school attack that killed 20 children and six adults.

Can I sue someone whose attempt to help hurt me more?

In general, you can't sue a person who attempts to help you after you've been injured, even if in trying to help you, he or she injures you further. These rules are often called 'Good Samaritan' laws, and they serve to provide legal immunity to people who attempt to offer voluntary assistance in an emergency situation.

Interstate crash kills 3, sends 73 to the hospital

A weather-related accident on Pennsylvania's Interstate 78 on the morning of February 13 has left three people dead and 73 injured in the wake of a 64-vehicle pileup. The accident occurred in the westbound lane of Interstate 78 in Bethel Township. Twelve commercial vehicles, including box trucks and tractor-trailers, were reportedly involved in the crash, which shut down both lanes of the highway throughout the night.

WHAT IS AN 'ATTRACTIVE NUISANCE'?

Normally, property owners or tenants can't be held liable for injuries to people who had been trespassing on their land. But when those people are children, and the trespass happened because the children had been attracted to a dangerous man-made feature on the land, those owners or tenants can be held responsible under the 'attractive nuisance' doctrine. 

PENNSYLVANIA COURT ASKED TO THROW OUT TOPAMAX VERDICT

In a case before the Pennsylvania Superior Court, an attorney for Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. et al., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has argued for a $3. million verdict against the company to be thrown out. The complaint charged that Janssen has failed to adequately warn consumers against the risk its anti-epilepsy drug, Topamax, poses to fetuses in utero. The woman who filed the suit had been taking the drug to treat migraine headaches. Doctors continued to prescribe Topamax during her pregnancy, and the woman's son was born with a cleft lip. 

GMO LABELING CONTROVERSY PRECEDES EVIDENCE OF HARM

The debate about the need to label genetically modified organism (GMO) foods continues to rage, with legislation pending in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and laws already passed in Connecticut and Maine that make such labeling mandatory. Pro-labelers argue that people have a right to know what's in their food. Meanwhile, labeling opponents point out that there is no proven adverse health effect currently attributed to genetically modified foods, and therefore a labeling requirement would be premature at best, and likely unnecessary. 

Pay attention to skiing responsibility code to avoid accidents

A collision on the ski slopes can result in severe or even permanent injury. In extreme cases this could mean that the injured person will no longer be able to ski -- it could also mean paralysis if the person's spinal cord gets injured. Injury on the slopes can happen for a number of reasons. A skier can crash into a tree or other object, or lose control on dangerous terrain. Sometimes these accidents don't involve other people, and skier error or inexperience may be to blame. But when a serious injury results from a collision between two skiers, there can be disagreement over who is responsible, and therefore liable, for costs related to the accident. 

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