Jan

30

Premises Liability Basics

Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News

Just because you were injured on someone else’s property does not mean that the property owner is automatically liable. You have to prove that the property owner was negligent.

State laws will vary, but in order to prove it, you generally will have to show that the property owner failed to act as a “reasonably prudent” person under the circumstances.

This means the injured party has to show either that the owner knew or should have known of the hazard, had an opportunity to correct it, and failed to take action or that the property owner created the hazard.

Let’s look at a typical example: you are walking through the supermarket and suddenly, your feet go out from under you and you end up on the floor, in terrible pain.

  • Maybe a store employee just finished mopping but did such a lousy job that there was grease left on the floor.
  • Maybe some kid in a shopping cart reached out and knocked something off the shelf, causing it to spill on the floor just before you came walking down the aisle.
  • Maybe there had been a spillage on the floor for 20 minutes but the store management had not yet gotten around to getting someone to clean it up.
  • In the first example, the store will likely be liable because its employee created the hazardous condition.

    In the second example, the store will likely not be liable because it did not have an opportunity to find out about the condition, or to do something about it.

    In the third example, it could go either way: a jury could decide that 20 minutes is too short of a time for the store management to have learned about the spillage. Or, perhaps that it was a reasonable amount of time to have discovered the spillage, but since it was only 20 minutes, they still didn’t have enough of a chance to get to cleaning it up. Or, the jury could decide the store is liable because management should have discovered the spillage and cleaned it up within that time.

    This is a fair rule: property owners should keep their property in reasonably safe condition. But, it would be unrealistic to require everyone to keep property in perfectly safe conditions at all times. A store cannot hire employees to accompany each customer as they do their shopping.

    All rules have drawbacks. In the example above, how do you prove what it was that you actually slipped on, how it got there or how long it was there?

    Many injuries can never be shown to have resulted from the negligence of property owners due to a lack of evidence. But sometimes, such evidence is available.

    For example, a lady slipped and fell on a glob of grease while on her way into a store. As she was lying on the sidewalk, a customer came out and saw her. Turns out he knew her, so he stopped to help. He recalled having seen that glob of grease there when he had been on his way into the store 20 minutes earlier.

    A woman slipped on spilled milk in a store. Someone had been able to describe the milk as congealed. In order for the milk to get in that condition, it had to have been there for more than a half hour.

    A woman slipped on a strawberry in the produce department. A stock clerk had just finished putting strawberries on display, so the most likely conclusion was that she had spilled it.

    If you or someone you know is injured on someone else’s property, here is how you might be able to protect your rights.

    • Look to see what caused the fall. Was it a slip or a trip?
    • Take pictures right then and there. Most of us conveniently carry cell phones with cameras on them.
    • If this is a business property (such as a store), have someone take an accident report right away and write down that person’s name.
    • Look around to see if anyone saw you and write down those names as well.

    When an accident happens, you may not know the extent of your injury right away. Sometimes, the initial pain is severe, but after a few weeks you are as good as new. Other times, you think you can “walk it off” and you are such a tough guy you won’t go to the doctor until someone makes you, and when you do, you find out it is much worse than you thought. Either way, make that report and do it right away.

    Some property liability insurance policies include a provision called a “medical payments provision.” Although it is not required, this provision will pay medical expenses up to a certain amount, regardless of fault.

    It may not be advisable to try to handle a liability claim yourself. As you can see, this is a tricky business and doing it yourself could lead to further complications and headaches. You would probably be up against professional insurance people, lawyers who have experience in these types of cases and rules upon rules upon rules that you may not know anything about.

    A lawyer can advise you on your case, fight for your rights, and may bring you piece of mind. Many personal injury lawyers will provide you with a free consultation. If you’re injured on someone else’s property, you can call a personal injury lawyer in your area.

    This article was written by guest blogger, Andrew T. Velonis.

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    Dec

    19

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Calls for Assault Weapon Ban

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    Shortly after the horrific and tragic shooting in Connecticut, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for a ban on assault weapons.  In what Emanuel is calling a “vote of conscience,” according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel has challenged politicians to ban assault weapons on both the state and national level.

    “As somebody who stood by President Clinton’s side to make sure we had a ban on assault weapons, I do not want to see more weapons on the street, more guns on the street.  They make your job all that more difficult,” said Emanuel while addressing a new batch of Chicago police officers at their graduation.

    “It’s time that we as a city have an assault weapons ban, it’s time that we as a state have an assault weapons ban, it’s time that we as a country have an assault weapons ban… And I would hope the leadership in Congress now will have a vote of conscience.  It is time to have that vote.”

    Mayor Emanuel at one point referenced the nationwide assault rifle ban that was enacted under President Bill Clinton.  It was enacted in 1994, but had a 10 year “sunset provision.”  This means that the bill will expire if it is not renewed by congress after a specific amount of time (in this instance, 10 years).

    Another well known piece of legislation with a sunset provision was the Bush tax cuts.

    In 2004, 10 years after the bill was enacted, the bill expired.  Since then, there have been numerous attempts to renew it, but Republican opposition has been strong.  The bill has yet to reach the floor for a renewal vote.

    With the increasing polarization of the politicians, the odds of a nationwide ban are not great.  And while the tragic events of Newtown have brought the conversation to the forefront, many are not ready to address the issue.

    Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy also supports Mayor Emanuel’s call for a ban.  McCarthy has also stated his desire that Attorney General Lisa Madigan appeal a federal court ruling that struck down the Illinois ban on carrying handguns in public.

    McCarthy and Emanuel are some of the most visible supports of increased gun control and regulation.  The two have political capital in Chicago, but they would face adversity even at the state level- let alone the national level.

    The major divide seems to be between urban residents and rural residents.  Each has a desire to control gun regulations.

    This makes the most sense because the lifestyles of the two regions can be worlds apart.  It is hard for an urban apartment dweller to think of a legitimate reason to possess an assault weapon.  And many rural dwellers have grown attached to their firearms as a tool for their daily lives.

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    Dec

    13

    Former IMF Chief and New York Maid Settle Sexual Assault Claim

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former International Monetary Fund chief, has settled a civil suit filed against him by a New York hotel maid.  According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Strauss-Kahn, 63, has settled the suit filed by Nafissatou Diallo.

    The amount of the settlement was, not unexpectedly, undisclosed.

    Strauss-Kahn was not required to appear in court for the end of the case, and remained in Paris throughout the proceedings.

    The final hearing in the case took place only seven miles from the luxurious Manhattan hotel where the alleged incident occurred.  As a result of the incident, Strauss-Kahn spent six nights in custody and then resigned his position.

    The scandal arose from an incident on May 14, 2011, “when Diallo, 33, told police Straus-Kahn attacked her at the Sotifel Hotel.  She said he emerged naked from the bathroom of his $3,000 a night suite and forced her to perform oral sex.”

    The police were barely able to arrest Strauss-Kahn before he left the country.  He was already seated on a plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport when the police finally caught up to him.

    At the time, Strauss-Kahn was the head of the world’s most influential financial organizations and even had aspirations of running for president of France.  As a result of the scandal, however, he was forced to resign his position and lost his political chances despite being the one time front-runner for the Socialist party.

    Prosecutors believed that DNA evidence would result in criminal charges, but those were dropped amid concerns of Diallo’s credibility.  Apparently she had some inconsistencies in her account following the incident.

    Despite the lack of criminal charges, Strauss-Kahn’s troubles only increased after the scandal.  A wave of other accusations flooded Strauss-Kahn, often referred to as the “great seducer” in French political circles.

    Strauss-Khan had admitted that he had a sexual encounter with Diallo, but claimed that it was intentional.  He even filed a $1 million countersuit against Diallo for defamation.

    Strauss-Khan is now awaiting the results of another court that will greatly affect his future.  A French court is deciding whether or not he has to stand trial on pimping charges related to sex parties he attended with prostitutes.

    These kind of sensational headlines are often enough to sink even the most promising careers.  While it seems that Strauss-Kahn’s career has taken a significant blow, he hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet.  Strauss-Khan is slowly attempting to revamp his career by giving speeches at private conferences and setting up a consulting firm in Paris.

    Perhaps his biggest hurdle will be the decision by the French court on his potential pimping charges which is set for December 19th.

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    Dec

    10

    Unexpected Odds and Disproportionate Fears

    Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News

    The odds of dying from a lightning strike are one in 134,906. Are you afraid of dying from strange types of injuries or accidents? You’re more likely to die of disease.


    unexpected odds disproportionate fears

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    Heart Disease vs. Drowning

    • Odds of dying of heart disease: one in six.
    • Odds of drowning: one in 1,103.

    Cancer vs. Air Travel Accident

    • Odds of dying of cancer: one in seven.
    • Odds of dying in an air travel accident: one in 7,178.

    Stroke vs. Fireworks Discharge

    • Odds of dying of a stroke: one in 29.
    • Odds of dying because of a fireworks discharge: one in 652,046.

    Firearm Assault vs. Wasp, Hornet, or Other Bee Sting.

    • Odds of dying of a firearm assault: one in 321.
    • Odds of dying due to a bee sting: one in 79,842.

    Motor Vehicle Accident vs. Shark Attack

    Falling vs. Flooding

    • Odds of dying in a fall: one in 163.
    • Odds of dying in a flood: one in 558,896.

    Intentional Self Harm vs. Fire, Smoke, Flame

    • Odds of dying because of intentional self harm: one in 109.
    • Odds of dying due to fire, flame, or smoke: one 1,344.

    This infographic has been brought to you by Total Injury.

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    Dec

    5

    Chicago Man Gets $50k for Unlawful Arrest, and 75¢

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    A federal jury found in favor of a Chicago man when they found that two police officers wrongfully arrested him while he was inflating his tires with air.  The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Pares Ratliff, then 23, was arrested when filling his tires.  The jury decided to award him $50,000 in damages, and an additional 75 cents for the money he put in to the air pump, but didn’t get a chance to use.

    In 2009, Ratliff was driving to the store at night to buy diapers for his son when he decided to fill up his tires at a gas station.  While attempting to inflate his tires, two Chicago police officers approached Ratliff claiming to have a warrant for his arrest.  Ratliff allegedly claimed that it was impossible, then the police accused him of threatening them with the air hose, and arrested him on the spot.

    The police report claimed that Ratliff gripped the air hose and said, “If you don’t let me finish filling my tire with air, I’m going to kill you.”  Which is a very different account that Ratliff gave.  He claimed that he was confused and said, jokingly, that he would go with them if they refunded the 75 cents he just put in the machine.

    In the end, Ratliff was charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, but neither officer showed up to the first court date- which resulted in the charges being dropped.

    Ratliff, a manager at a Jewel-Osco, then filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the officers lied about their interactions with Ratliff.

    The trial lasted for four days, and the jury only had to deliberate for an hour.  After the trial, Ratliff was awarded “$30,000 in compensatory damages against the city and an additional $20,000 in punitive damages against the two officers.  They tacked the 75 cents onto the punitive damages, according to court records.”

    Compensatory damages are intended to repay the plaintiff for damages incurred from the incident.  In this case, the jury decided that in order to put Ratliff in the position he would have been in without the misconduct by the police, he should be compensated with $30,000.  The punitive damages are a tool for punishing the wrongdoer.

    This means that the jury found that Ratliff needed $30,000 to be made whole, and that the city should be punished to the tune of an additional $20,000 (plus 75 cents).

    Just to add to the city’s tab for this incident, the city will have to pay his legal bills, in addition to the aforementioned damages.  The legal bill for this? Nearly $300,000.

    Not unexpectedly, no spokesman for the city’s Law Department was available for comment.

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    Nov

    28

    Traffic Pollution and Autism Link?

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    A recent article in the Chicago Tribune is reporting that environmental toxins may cause reactions in fetuses and early infants which can manifest as autism.

    The study showed that “children who were exposed to the highest levels of traffic-related air pollution during gestation and in early infancy were three times more likely to be diagnosed with the neurodevelopmental disorder than were those whose early exposure of such pollutants was very low.”

    While people have known for years that traffic pollution can cause serious health conditions, the link to autism is very recent.  The study which points to the link was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

    In that study, a group of over 500 children were followed for several years following their birth.

    The link drawn by the article is most evident “ at the highest levels of exposure, and slightly higher when the exposure comes later in a woman’s pregnancy.  The strongest link was found between exposure to nitrogen dioxide- a pollutant found plentifully around freeways- and autism, while exposure to particulates was less strongly linked to autism.”

    The article also claims to have taken into account many other factors that could affect the results.  These other factors ranged from, “parental education, ethnicity, whether a mother smoked during pregnancy, or how densely populated the region was.”

    This shows that the researchers were concerned about merely showing a link between socioeconomic status and autism.  Instead, the article works to find out if there is a link between certain pollutants and autism.

    One of the more concerning aspects about autism is it’s increasing prevalence.  In the past six years, autism has increased in the U.S. by 78% percent.  This research project was one of a string of three articles to address this issue.

    The studies “point to an urgent need for more research on prenatal and early post-natal brain development in autism, with a focus on how genes and early development combine to increase risk” for autism, states Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer of Autism Speaks and a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Diesel exhaust apparently is capable of interfering with gene expression, which is an important part of healthy brain development.  This is a possible explanation for how pollutants could affect development enough to cause autism.

    The authors of the research are careful to point out that this is not definitive proof that pollutants can cause autism.  It is merely an early step into more thorough research to determine the overall health effects of these kinds of pollutants.

    And while the research is just starting, we can all appreciate the dangerous effects of pollutants.  Regardless of its role in autism, we all should have plenty of reasons to avoid these toxins.

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    Nov

    21

    Code of Silence Costs Chicago

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    In 2007, a female bartender was brutally beaten by a drunk off-duty Chicago police officer.  The entire assault was caught on tape.  Now, the city of Chicago is on the hook for $850,000.

    According to a report by ABC, the verdict may be indicative of a systemic problem in Chicago police: a code of silence.

    This alleged code of silence helps explain how the city of Chicago can be liable to a person who was brutally beaten by an off-duty­ police officer.  Normally, the actions of an off-duty police officer (or any employee) that has no relation to their official position, or under the color of their position, would not result in liability against the city.

    This aspect made the trial unique, as it was focused on whether there is an ingrained code of silence.  Most of the two and a half week trial focused on this aspect (the fact that former police officer Anthony Abbate beat the bartender was very apparent from the video).

    According to the report, “jurors not only found that other officers and Abbate’s superiors tried to cover up the attack at Jesse’s Short Stop Inn, but they concluded that Abbate’s knowledge of his fellow officers’ willingness to cover him created an environment that led to the attack on Obrycka [the bartender].”

    The core question the jury had to deal with was, “whether the police culture emboldened him and led him to act with impunity in attacking her.”

    The defense tried to argue that there was no evidence of a code of silence.  Abbate was, the defense points out, charged and convicted for the beating in 2009.  However, Abbate was only convicted of aggravated battery and sentenced to probation (i.e., no jail time).

    The plaintiff brought in Debra Kirby to help refute the claim that the system worked because Abbate was convicted.  Kirby was the head of the department’s internal affairs division at the time and, “testified that she recommended during a phone call with Cook County prosecutors three days after the beating that Abbate be charged with a serious felony.”

    Kirby’s internal affairs detective, Joseph Stehlik, claimed to have been in the room for this phone call and claims that Kirby recommended the lesser charge which Abbate received.

    The city plans of challenging the verdict.  The fact that Abbate was off-duty makes a $850,000 verdict hard for the city to swallow.

    Regardless of how the appeals go, reports are that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has suggested that anyone participating in a code of silence will face stiff consequences.  The police force in Chicago cannot work for peace and justice if it attempts to keep its own guilty members free.  It seems this verdict sends that message loud and clear.

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    Nov

    19

    Fear of Pit Bull Attack Leads to Law Suit

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    Conflict of a pit bull in the northern suburbs of Chicago has lead to a law suit to ban the animal from the neighborhood.

    A recent article in the Chicago Tribune is reporting that residents of suburban Wilmette have filed a suit against the owners of a pit bull with the aim of banning the dog.

    According to the report, John Grady, the plaintiff, has alleged that the pit bull has escaped on three occasions and acted in aggressive and vicious behavior.

    “We did it with a heave heart because we regard lawsuits with neighbors as things to be avoided if at all possible,” said Grady.  “There just came a time when we had to act to protect our children.”

    While the article does discuss the three escapes of the pit bull, it does not allege that the dog has actually bitten or injured anyone.  But, because the neighborhood has more than 40 children on the street, neighbors like Grady don’t want to wait for an injury.

    The pit bull, which is a rescue dog, “allegedly attempted to attack a young child playing in a nearby yard, according to the lawsuit… The suit states neither Albright [the dog’s owner] nor her parents, were present during the incident, though the family declined comment.”

    The pit bull is owned by Megan Albright, who recently moved back in to her parents house.  Albright also allegedly owns a Doberman Pinscher.

    In the suit, Grady alleges that, in one instance, after the pit bull escaped, Megan’s father retrieved the dog and said that the dog was mean and “I can’t understand why [Megan] keeps it.”

    It raises issues that remind many of breed bans in areas like Denver.  In Denver, residents are forbidden from owning pit bulls.  This has caused frustration for owners, and confusion for what exactly constitutes a pit bull.

    In this case, the rescue dog has not yet caused any injuries.  The fear of injuries or death has caused the families to attempt to take preemptive measure.  Grady, and three other families that joined the plaintiffs side of the suit, allege that the dog has taken an “attack position” several times.

    In general, courts are not likely to require defendants to take certain actions when there is yet to be any harm.  The court will have to carefully evaluate the potential harm of the pit bull when it determines whether or not to require Albright to find alternative housing for the animal.

    Until the case is heard and more facts are released, it seems that the pit bull will remain in Wilmette.  Hopefully that means that the dog will remain safely inside the Albright home and not interacting with residents on the streets.

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    Nov

    15

    Supreme Court Hears Class Action Reform Issue

    Posted by admin | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By

    The Supreme Court of the United States has heard two cases which have the potential to make class action lawsuits more difficult.

    A recent article in the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Court seems divided on where it will come down on the issue.

    The recent trend at the national level is to make class actions more difficult for plaintiffs.  “Last year, the Supreme Court raised the bar for some class action suits when it sided with Wal-Mart against up to 1.6 million of its female employees who complained of sex discrimination.  In the Wal-Mart case, the court said there were too many women in too many jobs at the nation’s largest private employer to wrap into one lawsuit.”

    Class actions put pressure on businesses to settle because of the extreme risk they entail.  If, for example, the Wal-Mart class action had been allowed to proceed, then billions of dollars would have been on the line for Wal-Mart.

    Often, there is a level of resentment against major corporations (particularly when faced against specific people with emotional stories).  It is easier for a juror to relate to a wronged person that a multi-billion dollar corporation.

    As a result, corporations try and fight class actions as much as possible.

    But class actions are an important tool for those in the class.  Without the aid of class action, a single plaintiff (who may have only been wronged out of a few thousand dollars or less) would have to fight a corporation with seemingly endless money.  This makes it very difficult for any recovery to happen.

    The two cases, one involving a biotech company Amgen Inc., and another involving cable provider Comcast Corp., have the potential to drastically affect the structure of class action lawsuits in America.

    The issues involved have to do with the burden of proof on plaintiffs when the case is in the pretrial phase.  “The issue at the Supreme Court is whether the pension funds have to show at an early stage of the lawsuit that Amgen’s claims about the safety and the effectiveness of the drugs Aranesp and Epogen affected the stock price.”

    In the Comcast case, the justices will also have to decide the level of proof required at early stages of the litigation.  The more proof that plaintiffs need to show, the more likely the cases will be kicked out of court.

    These cases will decide just how accessible class action suits will be for plaintiffs.  Often times, the evidence needed to win the case isn’t available until the suit is underway, and all the tools of discovery are available.

    These cases are often decided along voting trends.  The Court has a typical 5-4 split.  The ruling on the class action cases should be released by June.

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    Nov

    13

    The Deadliest U.S. Hurricanes

    Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News

    Hurricanes kill an average of 17 people in the United States every year. But some storms claim much higher death tolls than others.

    What are the chances that you will sustain a personal injury or worse during a hurricane?


    deadly hurricanes in the united states

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    Hurricane Categories

    Hurricane threats are rated on the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale, which categorizes danger levels on a scale of 1 to 5.

    Category 1:

    • Wind speeds between 74 and 95 miles per hour.
    • Wave surges between 4 and 5 feet.
    • Little damage to buildings.
    • Primarily damages unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees.
    • Minor coastal flooding and pier damage.

    Category 2:

    • Wind speeds between 96 and 110 miles per hour.
    • Wave surges between 6 and 8 feet.
    • Little roofing, door, and window damage, but sizeable damage to shrubbery, trees, and mobile homes.
    • Piers and small boats experience significant damage.

    Category 3:

    • Wind speeds between 111 and 130 miles per hour.
    • Wave surges between 9 and 12 feet.
    • Small structures experience some structural damage; mobile homes are completely destroyed.
    • Small coastline structures are completely destroyed; larger structures are damaged by flooding.

    Category 4:

    • Wind speeds between 131 and 155 miles per hour.
    • Wave surges between 13 and 18 feet.
    • Some complete roof destruction on small residences.
    • Beach areas experience major erosion.

    Category 5:

    • Wind speeds in excess of 155 miles per hour.
    • Waves surges in excess of 18 feet.
    • Many residences and industrial buildings experience complete roof failure.
    • Some complete building failures.
    • Major damage caused by flooding on all lower floors of structures near the shoreline.
    • Typically accompanied by mass evacuations of coastal areas.

    Hurricane Season

    Hurricane season variety.

    Pacific Ocean

    • May 15th is the official kickoff date for the eastern Pacific.
    • It won’t end until November 30th.

    Atlantic Ocean

    • August 15th marks the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season.
    • It lasts until around October 30th.

    The coast isn’t the only place that suffers.

    • Hurricanes can stretch hundred miles inland.
    • Winds have the potential to top 155 mph.
    • In addition, they can drop violent tornadoes and microbursts.
    • From 1970 to 1999, inland freshwater flooding from tropical cyclones resulted in more deaths than any other hazardous weather condition.

    Worst U.S. Hurricanes

    September 8th, 1900

    • This Category 4 hurricane slammed into Galveston, Texas, destroying every home.
    • Winds speeds topped out at 130 mph.
    • An estimated 8,000 of the 20,000 residents were killed.
    • St. Mary’s Orphanage contained the bodies of 93 orphans who never left.
    • This hurricane is considered the deadliest ever to hit the Unites States.

    September 6th to the 20th, 1928

    • This tropical cyclone wailed across many islands south of Florida; 300 people were killed in Puerto Rico alone.
    • Winds peaked at 150 mph when it hit between Jupiter and Boca Raton, Florida.
    • When it hit Lake Okeechobee, at least 1,836 people were killed and 1,849 were injured.
    • A Category 4 hurricane, this storm is considered the second most devastating in history.

    September 9th through the 16th, 1944

    • Also known as the Great Atlantic Hurricane, this Category 3 tropical cyclone stretched from North Carolina to New England.
    • The hurricane only had speeds of 81 mph, with 99 mph gusts.
    • Damages would have totaled around $1.4 billion today.
    • While 344 people were lost at sea, only 46 died on the mainland.

    June 25th to the 28th, 1957

    • Hurricane Audrey swept through southwest Louisiana and northern Texas, killing 390.
    • 263 bodies were identified. An additional 127 were not.
    • 192 people were reported missing…and never found.
    • Winds reached top speeds between 140 and 150 mph.
    • Property damage from Audrey was estimated at around $150 million.

    August 17th-18th, 1969

    • Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast the night of August 17th, 1969.
    • Many Mississippians doubted the storm’s power and stayed in its path.
    • Winds exceeded 210 miles per hour.
    • 134 people were killed during the storm.
    • 8.931 were injured.
    • 5,662 homes were completely destroyed, and some 13,915 suffered major damage.

    August 22th to the 26th, 1992

    • Hurricane Andrew roared through the Bahamas, eventually demolishing Miami, Florida.
    • Wind speeds exceeded 142 mph, with gusts peaking at 169 mph.
    • $26.5 billion in damages were reported in the wake of Andrew.
    • 23 people were killed in the U.S.

    August 29th, 2005

    • Causing in an estimated $75 billion in damages, Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and areas of Mississippi and Alabama.
    • The average wind speed was around 87 mph, though gusts reached up to 114 mph.
    • It’s estimated that 1,000 died in Louisiana, and 200 died in Mississippi.

    August 27th to the 29th, 2011

    • 2.3 million people were evacuated prior to the storm’s landfall.
    • 41 people perished in the wake of the storm; Irene caused $15 billion in property damage.
    • Irene is on record as the single most damaging Category 1 hurricane in history.

    October 29th - 31st, 2012

    • Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic storm north of North Carolina in U.S. history.
    • Some 106 people died in Sandy’s path.
    • 8.5 million people lost power following the storm.
    • 28 inches of snow fell in Davis, West Virginia after the hurricane ran up against a nor’easter out of Canada.
    • $20 billion in damage was done in New York alone.

    This inforgraphic has been brought to you by Total Injury.

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    Nov

    7

    Killer Deals on Black Friday

    Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News

    Coast to cost, Black Friday brings more than low-price deals. Tragedy has darkened the busiest shopping day of the year time and time again.

    In this infographic, you will learn about some of the worst personal injuries that have occurred on Black Friday over the years.


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    2011: 20 people were injured when a woman used pepper spray on the crowd in an attempt to get an Xbox 360.

    2008: In perhaps the most well-known Black Friday violence, a maintenance worker for Wal-Mart was trampled to death by hordes of shoppers.

    2008: At the same Wal-Mart, a 28-year-old pregnant woman and three others were taken to the hospital with minor injuries after they were knocked down during the stampede.

    2010:A Marine reservist was stabbed a a Toys for Tots drive when the tried to stop a shoplifter at a Best Buy.

    2011: A 19-year-0ld woman jumped on the back of another man and hit him over a 40″ TV.

    2008: At a Toys “R” Us, a gun battle tore through the crowded aisles. While the cause of the fight wasn’t over deeply discounted toys, the violence nevertheless rattled shoppers nationwide.

    2011: An attempted robbery ended with the victim shot in the leg. She was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery.

    2011: An off-duty police officer used pepper spray to subdue a crowd. Witnesses claim many were injured but the police deny that any treatment was required.

    2011: One man was taken to the hospital in critical condition when he was shot during an attempted robbery as he left the store with his purchases.

    2011: A grandfather accused of shoplifting was roughed up by police when he resisted arrest despite his claims he was only trying to help his grandson.

    This infographic was brought to you by Total Injury.

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    Oct

    29

    Hurricane Sandy Safety

    Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News

    By
    The United States government is taking many steps, both large and small, to keep the people of this country safe as we prepare for Hurricane Sandy to roll through.

    Schools have been closed. Subways have been shutdown. Airports are closed. Cities and towns are practically closing down in the hopes of keeping people safer.

    Regardless of how well the weather can be predicted, there is really no way to fully prepare for a storm of this magnitude. Hurricane Sandy is a Category 1 beast of a hurricane and we need to take every precaution we can and then hope we don’t see the worst of it.

    Here are some things you should do to prepare:

    • Have a safety plan. If you have not been told to evacuate, know where to go in your house to be safest, farthest from windows and glass doors. Tell someone (outside of your house) where you’ll be.
    • Stay tuned to weather announcements. You’ll need as much information as possible to keep you as safe as possible.
    • Prepare for power outages and turn off/unplug electricity. Be ready to use generators and/or battery operated devices, especially flash lights. You’ll want electricity off in the event that you take in a lot of water from the storm.
    • Have water and food in a plastic bag in the room with you. In the event you get trapped, you’ll need essentials as close as possible.
    • Charge your cell phone. It is impossible to say whether or not your cell phone will work during the storm, but don’t get caught with a dead battery in an emergency.
    • Secure valuables and important items. Birth certificates and other important documents, as well as valuable/non-replaceable items, should be secured somewhere.
    • There is no telling what the effects of Hurricane Sandy will be but it is important to take every precaution possible.

    There is no telling what the effects of Hurricane Sandy will be but it is important to take every precaution possible.

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    Aug

    28

    The Danger of Being a Pedestrian

    Posted by Mary Ann Gorman | Posted in Personal Injury News

    Just because you’re not in a car does not mean you cannot be the victim of a car accident. As a pedestrian, one of the most important things to be aware of while walking, is traffic on the roads. You see cars everyday, but do they see you? One of the most common personal injury cases is car accident cases. One of the most common questions that follows, is “Can I sue after a car accident?

    Each year, more than 2.6 million young people receive treatment for youth sports injuries. In this infographic, you’ll learn about common injuries.


    A Pedestrian's Arch Nemesis: The Car

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    The Dangers of Being a Pedestrian

    You’ve had countless pieces of advice thrown at you about driving safety, and for good reason. But even if you know all about car crashes, what do you know about accidents involving pedestrians?

    General Statistics

    Unfortunately, strolling down the street can be a victim of a car accident.

    • Every day, on average:
      • 12 pedestrians died in 2010
      • 11 pedestrians died in 2009
      • 12 pedestrians died in 2008
    • Every day, on average:
      • 192 pedestrians were injured in 2010
      • 162 pedestrians were injured in 2009
      • 189 pedestrians were injured in 2008

    On each trip, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than occupants on a passenger vehicle to be killed in a crash.

    Number of Pedestrian Fatalities by Year

    2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
    4,280 4,092 4,414 4,699 4,795 4,892
    2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999
    4,675 4,774 4,851 4,901 4,763 4,939

    Precautions

    To stay safe, the CDC recommends that pedestrians:

    • Be cautious at intersections where drivers might not yield to pedestrians while turning.
      • In 1,289 instances in 2010 the pedestrian failed to yield and an accident resulted.
      • In 239 instances in 2010 the driver failed to yield and an accident resulted.
    • Use designated crosswalks.
      • If you must walk in the road, walk facing traffic.
      • For pedestrians walking along the roadway with traffic who were involved in crashes in 2010:
        • 317 were hit from behind.
        • 9 were hit from the front.
    • Carry a flashlight and wear retro-reflective clothes when walking at night.

    While it’s obvious that drinking and driving is dangerous, pedestrians should watch their alcohol intake, as well.

    • Pedestrians who were fatally injured (and had been drinking):
      • 2010: 1,589
      • 2009: 1,579
      • 2008: 1,736

    Conclusion

    Drivers aren’t the only ones who need to be alert and cautious. Pedestrians should always be aware of their surroundings and take care when crossing or walking alongside the road.

    Provided by Total Injury.

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    Apr

    6

    Catholic Scandal: How Sexual Abuse Cases Have Affected the Church’s Reputation

    Posted by Chris Kramer | Posted in Personal Injury News

    The Catholic Church has been riddled with sexual abuse controversy for decades. Accusations and lawsuits against the clergy impact the church’s reputation, causing upset among church members. The abuse cases have cost approximately $2 billion and spurred changes in how the church addresses sexual abuse accusations.


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    Catholic Church's Reputation Following Sex Abuse Cases

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    First Public Case and Response

    Abuse accusations against the Catholic Church have become increasingly public over the last several decades.

    1985: First Public Case of Abuse

    • Rev. Gilbert Gauthe, Louisiana
    • Convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for molesting 35 children
    • Case spurred additional sexual abuse accusations of priests

    1992: First Response by the Catholic Church

    • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    • Policy recommendations for bishops to address sexual abuse cases

    Noteworthy Cases: United States

    Further accusations of sexual abuse against the church continued occurring after 1992. Below are noteworthy cases within the United States.

    2002: Boston, MA

    • Rev. John J. Geoghan
    • Accused of abusing more than 130 boys over 3 decades
    • Priest was transferred among 6 parishes

    2005: Boston, MA

    • Former Priest, Rev. Paul R. Shanley
    • Convicted of rape and assault as a parish priest in the 1980s

    2005: Philadelphia, PA

    • Grand Jury found cases of abuse by 63 priests that were not addressed by the church
    • No indictments because the statute of limitations ran out

    2011 Philadelphia, PA

    • 4 indicted on rape and assault charges:
      • Father Charles Engelhardt
      • Father James Brennan
      • Bernard Shero (parochial school teacher)
      • Edward Avery (former priest)
    • Msgr. William Lynn indicted on charges of endangering children’s welfare
    • First time a senior church member was charged with hiding abuse in a United States case.

    2011: Kansas City, MO

    • Bishop Robert Finn indicted for failure to report child abuse
    • First time the leader of an American diocese was criminally liable for priests’ behaviors
    • Bishop Finn settled lawsuit with 47 plaintiffs for $10 million
    • Public reaction: outrage

    Noteworthy Cases: Europe

    The United States was not the only place the Catholic Church came under attack. In 2010, charges of abuse surfaced throughout Europe in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland. [1]

    Germany

    • Rev. Peter Hullermann
      • 1970s: Sexual abuse accusations
        • Within his parish near Essen
      • 1986: Convicted of molestation
        • 18-month suspended sentence
        • 5 years probation
        • Fined 4,000 marks
        • Continued to work with children
      • 1998: Sexual abuse accusations
        • In his parish in Garching
      • 2010: Suspended form his duties
        • German Church: “Mistakes were made in his case”

    The Netherlands

    • 2010:
      • Close to 2,000 people alleged sexual and physical abuse against the church
      • Catholics living in the Netherlands accounted for 1/4th of the population
      • Cardinal Adrianus Simonis’ response: “We knew noting”

    Belgium

    • 2010:
      • Roman Catholic Bishop resigned after admitting to sexually abusing children
      • 13 victims reportedly committed suicide as a result of abuse by clerics
      • Belgian Church’s Response: Agreed to compensate alleged victims of clerics

    Ireland

    • 2009 Report from Irish Government
      • Church and police covered up sexual abuse by priests in Dublin
      • Report chronicled sexual, emotional, and physical abuse of orphans and foster kids within church-run residential schools
    • 2010 Disclosure
      • Cardinal Sean Brady coerced 2 boys 35 years ago into covering up their abuse allegations by an Irish priest
    • 2010 Reaction by the Pope: “Shame and remorse for sinful and criminal acts” committed by clergy

    Where the Church Currently Stands

    With continued controversy and allegations of sexual abuse, the Catholic Church has taken steps to right the wrongs of the past and make amends with the Catholic community.

    Vatican’s Response

    • Vatican directed bishops to prioritize, address, and prevent the sexual abuse by its clerics (2011)
    • Directives not binding in church law
      • No enforcement procedures or punishments

    United States Bishops

    • In 2011, bishops voted to keep the 2002 “zero tolerance” guidelines in place with minor changes
    • Victims’ advocates called for bigger changes

    “Toward Healing and Renewal”

    • 4-day symposium in February 2012
    • Attended by more than 100 bishops, 30 religious superiors, Catholic university rectors, and abuse victims
    • Areas of discussion:
      • How the church can better serve victims
      • Create a consistent response to abuse
      • Stop future cases of abuse

    Conclusion

    The Catholic Church has undergone a shaking in the last several decades with sexual abuse charges and accusations in the United States and Europe. Progress has been made in addressing the crimes, and the entire church community is working together to improve the church’s reputation and the future of Catholicism.

    Provided by Total Injury.

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    Dec

    6

    The Truth About American Spies Abroad

    Posted by Chris Kramer | Posted in On-the-Job Injuries

    Forget James Bond. Modern spies use diplomatic immunity as their weapon of choice. This allows them to be deported instead of imprisoned if they are captured and receive the best medical care instead of the worst if they are injured on the job. Check out the latest high-brow ways our spies are gathering information around the world.


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    The Truth About American Spies Abroad

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    History & Legality of American Spies Abroad

    With the available info the title should probably be changed to something like:

    The Truth About American Spies Abroad

    You can forget the flashy antics of James Bond, real U.S. spies are nothing of the sort.

    The average U.S. spy.

    A government worker officially sent abroad in full knowledge of the opposing country.

    • Cover: Flimsy – usually just a fake job title involving a fictitious government department.
    • Operation: Reactive – the spy will put themselves in the right place to receive information accidentally given to them.
    • Reason: Risk – It is too difficult to fully integrate an U.S. agent into another society, in a way that they will be trusted, for a long period of time.
    • Legality: Safe – Because they are official government workers they are given diplomatic immunity under the Geneva Convention and are usually sent back to the U.S if caught.

    The exceptional U.S. spy.

    Descendents of foreigners sent abroad under deep cover to impersonate a specific person one time.

    • Cover: Deep – they take on the full identity of a special person within the opposition that they happen to look, speak, and act like.
    • Operation: Proactive – the spy meets with targets and gathers information quickly before the opposition can take full notice.
    • Reason: Necessity – even this quick dash of spy mission is very difficult to pull off.
    • Legality: Dangerous – Non-official spies have less protection and are usually jailed if caught.

    What we use in place of traditional spies

    • Technology: Spies need no longer be in the opposing country to accomplish their mission. They can simply create a persona on a social network and work from the comfort of home.
    • Payoffs: With the U.S. dollar’s worldwide power agents can simply buy information from trusted members of the opposition.
    • Positions of Power: Instead of sneaking into the depths of a foreign government U.S. spies can simply be dropped into a high-ranking position at a powerful company on foreign soil.

    Famous foreign spies

    • Russia: Paid former FBI agent Robert Hanssen $1.4 million dollars to give up names of U.S. spies abroad.
    • China: Stole the design secrets to all the U.S.’s nuclear weapons through means that remain unclear.
    • Israel: Paid civilian Jonathan Pollard $10,000 for information on the U.S.’s global surveillance network.

    Provided by Total Injury.

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